Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why home/hand made is better than storebought:

Nothing I've made for my kids, (and nothing I've bought them on etsy)
has ever ripped my finger open. Stupid plastic packaging, however,
sliced my index finger right open. Lots of blood. Now, not only is my
finger tender, but this bandaid makes knitting quite a bother.
Why can't all toys just come in a box with tissue paper or newspaper?
Thank you, Etsy sellers, for allowing me to give my kids GREAT toys
without risking life or limb!

Monday, December 28, 2009

no frills trip-packing lists

I'm about to leave for a week-long road-trip with my dad and kiddos; C has to stay and work. :(
I made this trip-packing list up a few years ago, then added a baby one, then a kid one.
they're just simple word docs, but OH SO HELPFUL! I print out 1 for each adult, kid, baby, fill in the blanks with things that I know I need, and THEN pack, following the #s, items listed. If there's a category that I definitely don't need, I delete it before printing (no fancy events on this trip, so I don't need any of the dressy outfits or shoes or accessories this time, but I DO need to pack some little hostess gifts, so I'll just switch them out).
If you like them, feel free to download them and save them to your computer, to use every time you go on a trip.
there's no sense in reinventing the wheel after all, although, feel free to IMPROVE upon it!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Using my Xmas presents!

I had pepsi at lunch (caffeine), and wine after dinner (poor
judgement) so instead of going to bed early I stayed up and tested one
of my Xmas books. Tasty Crochet sure offers tasty treats! My kiddos
need more play food, so I asked Santa for this book. I made the apple
tonight, and it came out rather small. More like a homegrown apple
than a store bought apple. Which is fine. I'm sure D will appreciate
it. My red is not showing up nicely here, but it is a candy apple red
rather than a fire engine red. Still appley though, not weird orangy
brown red like the picture shows.
Joanns is having a yarn sale right now, so I think I'll take the
little monster (L), and get some more colors of wool. I seem to have
oodles of blue yarn in my stash, but that's not particularly helpful
when trying to make play food...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last minute doll dress...

I spent HOURS making the Bean this waldorf doll. HOURS and HOURS. Of
course, those hours did not include time to make the doll any clothes.
I had gran plans to make them matching purple courderoy overalls and
frilly blue an purple shirts, but that totally didn't happen. So at
10pm Xmas eve, I had a BRILlANT idea: make a bandana dress (there are
millions of tires for these on the Internet, SO fast and easy), using
vintage ladies handkerchiefs! They were the perfect size! Honestly, I
used two of my least favorites; I figure they'll be worn out soon
enough. The bean IS only 1, after all. (I'm saving my favorites to
make a pretty quilt, in which the hankies are turned into
butterflies... Someday).
I have to say, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out! I used yarn
instead of ribbon for lacing the top...
Oh, and I go the BEST present EVER: the last pic here shows what my
Gram brought me today. It's an aqua courduroy coat/hat with cream
cotton lace trim. She made it for my aunt when they lived in
Washington, D.C., 62 YEARS AGO!!! Then another aunt used it after that!
Gram said it was one of the first things she ever sewed, she spent
FIVE whole dollars on the fabric, and it's fully lined. She pointed
out that at the time, she could buy a pound of hamburger, GOOD
hamburger, for 15 cents, so five dollars was quite a lot to spend on
fabric for a baby's coat.
Clearly worth it though, since it's about to be used on the 3rd baby
in 62 years. I'll take good pics with a real camera tomorrow. Or the
day after.

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I hate etsy

beacause I ALWAYS find something without which I cannot live.
LOOK at these awesome shoes!!!
aren't they amazing!?!?!?! someone MAKES these!!!
and I could be wearing them!
I had to put a pair (size 9, walnut, peep-toe, neutrals) immediately on my wishlist, because i am a selfish and horribly greedy girl.
my birthday is only 6.5 months away!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I can't wait for Christmas!

Not only am I selfishly, wonderfully, ridiculously excited about some gifts I know I'm getting (thanks Amazon Universal Wish List!), but I also can't WAIT to give gifts this year.
other than books, (and a pair of warm boots for my mom, she asked for them specifically), EVERY gift I'm giving this year is HAND MADE BY ME!
yes, it's made the past month or so rather frantic, but I'm so very proud of each gift, and spent so many hours coming up with the perfect match of gift and person. lots of people will be receiving the same things, but that doesn't make it less heartfelt (just a little cheaper, as I bought some supplies in bulk). I have spent the time to personalize whenever possible, and to try to not only be useful, but also thoughtful. I'm soooo excited and hopeful about these gifts. I managed to get some good shots of gifts today, but as they are going to go to readers of this blog, I can't post them yet.
making things for my children has also been incredibly fun. I don't know why it never occured to me before, but it is possible (and not TOO difficult) to MAKE good toys for your own children! so now I'm on a total doll/plush-stuffed-toy kick. I've showed off the robin hood/maid marion/gnome already, but here's a doll I'm working on (she'll be about a foot tall, with "nutmeg" colored hair (the closest I could get to The Bean's current hair color of medium brown):

I"m REALLY tired, but it feels wierd and wrong and voodoo-y to go to sleep, leaving a doll with a needle and thread stabbed into her. MUST FINISH!

she's got pins in her hips, her neck, her ankles, and armpits. that can't be a comfortable way to sleep!

I'm sort of dreading making the doll clothes for this one. Mostly because OBVIOUSLY I will need to make my daughter something matching. I think though, for now, this doll will only have 1 dress. my daughter is too young to understand changing clothes, etc... that can wait a few years. oh, but the pressure of choosing a single outfit might be too much for me. sigh.

these little flower fairies are watching my progress. That's Cherry Blossom on the left, then Holly Berry, then Violet. Snowdrop is missing, and Table Daisy, Morning Glory[my own design], and Daffodil are WIPs right now. Holly Berry needs some hair, but I was too lazy to pull out my embroidery basket to find the right shade. I'm thinking she'll get black hair. I just *can't* do all the dolls blond/blue-eyed as they came. Cherry Blossom has green eyes now, and the other two here have brown. vast improvement, if you ask me! [and a good reason to make your own toys: they can MATCH your children!]

my poor cranky husbie is working late too! owning your own business means never taking time off. he's such a wonderful wonderful man. I'm feeling extra grateful tonight for some reason. maybe because I have such a special gift planned for him. (and a pair of socks, if I can finish them in time! wish me luck!)

Pixie cap

The bean is finally growing! I made this hat for her a year ago (knit
the weekend of my grandfather's funeral to keep me busy!), and it was
too big to stay on her head. Now it's too small!
I ran out of the purple, and subbed in the pink, rather than buy a
whole 'nother skein. It's super soft bamboo-silk blend. Amazing. I
love putting it on her and feeling it. Maybe I need to make this hat
for me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Countdown!

we got our cards today, so I suppose I should be addressing them, but I want to just do one big post office trip at the end of the week, so I need to finish presents in there somewhere...
My camera is in the back of my husband's car, so I missed a billion awesome shots today. boo. But I made a dear (and a deer that is actually a bulldog... good thing it was a muslin!), I made houses (still haven't glued on the snow, but at least the houses are made (thanks C!) and the fabric is stuck on. They've been in use since the moment they were shaped, so in my defense, awfully hard to hotglue yarn when they're full of trains and children!
I"m working on lots of little sewing projects right now, shirts, pants, headbands, aprons, fairies, etc.
and coming up with brilliant ideas while I sew.
Like making a felt Tomten to go with the book...
so tonight I'm experimenting with Kool-aid dye. I love the bright colors. but I need brownish- grey felt for the body. I mixed full packets of blue and yellow, and 1/2 a red... it's sorta a weird color, but it might work. we'll see.
I am using the remaining red (strawberry?) to make some pink felt to make more little flower fairy dolls... I flipping LOVE them. So far I'm planning a blue morning glory one... and with this dark pink... Maybe something totally SoCal, like bougainvillea? not sure exactly what she'll be, but these things are SO much fun to make!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Crafty things I accomplished today.

I located the pattern and cut the pieces for:
A plush frog
2 frog appliques
2 boys raglan Ts
1 pair boys pants
2 tiered little girl skirts
2 matching bags
Appliques of little girls initials for bags
Tween girl skirt
Womens t-shirt skirt
8 Fortune cookie ornaments
4 hot/cold packs
Pants turned into a bag

I machine blanket-stitched the initials to bags, sewed the bags and
tiered skirts for two special little birthday girls, appliqued frogs
on raglan fronts, sewed ornaments, sewed the plush frog, the hot bags,
and the pants-into-bag.
I also made turkey pies and raspberry-mint-limeade with my sweetie.

This is just a crafty list. Ie, what I did AFTER kiddo-bedtime.
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
It's obviously too dark/late to take pics tonight though, so you'll
have to wait till tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, December 11, 2009


Ok, I know it's super dorky, but OMG, these creations are AMAZING!

easy and fast and cheap

a perfect combination!

homemade baby legs, from a pair of womens socks!
the easiest way to make these is obviously just to cut off the foot, but that leaves raw edges, and I don't like raw edges. so: take the foot, cut the heel and toe off, fold the middle part of the foot in 1/2, and serge/zigzag it to the raw edge from the sock.
that way BOTH ends of the sock are finished, and your baby gets awesome babylegs, in holiday or whatever colors you can find cheap socks!

my daughter approves! (but won't hold still if i put them ON her, so no action shots of these...)
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wardeobe refashion

A few months ago I knitted the Bean some wool soakers. just the short diaper looking kind.
then one day, I was sitting in my sewing room, and I saw the sleeves from a wool sweater I had previously cut up. They had elbow pads. hmm.

After accidentally serging one on backwards, I resewed the sleeves to the soakers; et voila, warm pants!

with knee pads! (although they're pretty LOW on the knee...)

here's a back view

as you can see by the rolled cuff, we've got some length here.. hopefully they'll work for a while...
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's trip to the Urban Craft Center

We found these amazing fabric gingerbread houses in the window... D LOVED them, and NEEDED them, but, of course, there is no pattern, no kit, etc... just one of the girls there working magic. She said cardboard bases, and then a 1/4 yard of fabric, adhesive-sprayed down, with bulky yarn and glitter and a little felt, to decorate. Aren't they soo cute!!! I have a huge fear of exacto blades/cutting cardboard, so I have to wait till C has time to cut some boxes for me, but we're totally making some of these this weekend. my only real change will be to make the doors open and shut... and maybe curtains in the windows? who knows. it's super cute though.

D also loves the deer. They have a class to make these hand sewn animals, but I can't ever make it to their classes, and they don't have a pattern or anything... there's a doe, a buck, with tall antlers, and the little fawn. they have wire inside them, so the legs bend. I have to try my hand at these this weekend too. One of the things I love about this store is that I can get my fabric/yarn/crafting fix, but D isn't bored to tears either, they have samples of all the class projects, and of most of their products, and D can play. It totally confirms my belief in Waldorf/Montessori exploration, he has so much more fun here imagining things than he does in a toy store. he was taking the deer one by one to feed them the felt grapes you see in the background, and holding up the felted rainbow to explain that the rain was over, they could safely come out to play. so sweet and imaginitive.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teeny tiny crochet

Ok, so again with the slightly blurry iPhone pictures, but I couldn't wait to show off my teeny tiny little crocheted snowflakes! aren't they so pretty!!! (or rather, isn't this one so pretty? the other one was finished after these pics were taken, but is equally pretty, trust me)

I'm starch/blocking it out, hopefully this cotton will be really well affected by the starch/blocking process.

I made the round ones on the left about a month ago, I think I blogged about it then... but I never blocked them... honestly, I forgot that blocking is magical, and was disappointed with their appearance. but now I'm LOVING them, well, at least the top one.. the bottom one is a little wonky, and will probably be tossed.

here's the good one, from crochet today magazine

and here's one of my little snowflakes. My hand is in the shot just to show how teeny tiny it is. I used Lucy's pattern from Attic24 (it's no secret that I LOVE this blog), but I used crochet cotton and a teeny tiny needle (.8mm) to make these. They're going to my sister for Xmas. I was all set to make her these bags, or an apron or something practical, and then decided, nope, just because she's a mom/my older responsible sister doesn't mean she won't appreciate something whimsical and handmade and girly. Hope she likes them! (despite not being all that old, she's completely unconnected and I doubt she even knows what a blog is, let alone read mine, so I'm not the slightest bit worried that I'm spoiling her surprise, unless of course, my Gram or one of my parents spoils the surprise...

My first flower doll

I just sewed the first of 4 kit dolls I bought at The Urban Craft Center. I think I might go back there tomorrow and get some more. this was SO fun to make, and I'm SO pleased with the results! The problem tonight, though,was that my 3yo saw me working on it, watched the process, and then insisted that he needed to have the little dolly to sleep with, and therefore it will not probably be gifted to my daughter for xmas. oh well, at least it's loved.

my only real complaint is that the dolls all seem to be blond/blue eyed. I might have to change some of them to have the light brown hair/brown eyes of my daughter, or the auburn hair of my husband, or the dark brown hair of me, or the green eyes of my son. Maybe that was just the luck I had grabbing these 4 though, who knows.

here's a back view... it's pretty all the way around!

here she is next to a train, just for scale. (it also made me realize that these dolls will be able to use the thomas train set, they're the perfect size to play in and around the various structures!)

here's a rather blurry close-up of the face of this doll. My nice camera is out in the car, and its way too cold outside to go get it, hence the iPhone pics.

here's the package, just for reference. It came out looking almost exactly like the picture, except that I used white thread to sew the parts together, and the photo shows green. I think I like my white better. lucky for me! (oh, and the red sticker denoted the 75% off sale. so this doll, which was supposed to cost $13something, and is totally worth that full price, wound up costing like $3.5. pretty awesome, imo. the 75% off sale is over, but they're still 30% off, and that's worth it to me, hence the repeat trip I'm planning for tomorrow)

Easy kitty toy

I wrapped about 1/2 a teaspoon of catnip in some roving, stuck some
scraps of wool yarn in, and then needle felted it to stick it all
together. The ball is about the size of a quarter. The cats LOVE it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some kiddo Xmas presents

I don't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but a few weeks back the Urban Craft Center celebrated their 1st anniversary with a RIDICULOUS sale. The Weir doll kits were 75% off, which made them all under $10 (some were like $3... I wish I'd gotten more, they would make awesome b-day presents... )

I got the woodsman/maiden kit of fairytale folk, b/c my 3yo son LOVES robin hood... I know waldorf means that its supposed to be neutral, but right now, D wants Robin Hood, and I want Waldorf. Hopefully we'll both be happy with this one...

These are the dolls as they came out. The dude is supposed to have a brown hat with a leaf, but the kit doesn't have enough brown to do a full hat, so I'll have to find my brown felt tomorrow. I added feet-ish bottoms to their legs; I thought the legs in the pattern looked weirdly stumpy. I hate my faces, but overall am pleased with the finished products; hopefully D will love them.

I also got this knitted dwarf kit (which I will be calling a gnome, b/c my son also loves a garden gnome down the street). My daughter just turned 1, and got lots of dolls. My son, of course, now wants to play dolls. I have NO problem with this, except that other people DO have problems with boys carrying around pink baby dolls and caring for them. I'm hoping this gnome gives him something to carry and love without being treated oddly. I love that he loves, and want to nurture that wonderful side of my little boy for as long as I possibly can.

here's the finished product. Isn't it awesome! it fully lived up to my hopes. I switched in a different yarn (scrap) that PERFECTLY matches D's eye color, instead of making blue eyes... this green-y eye color is one of the more unique things about my gorgeous son...

I have one more Weir doll to make, for the Bean this time (I've already made her a little cuddle doll that *goes* with the bigger doll, as yet unmade), and I have 4 kits from De Witte Engel that I'm going to cut out tomorrow. I wish I had more. SOOOOO amazingly beautiful/cute/wonderful.

Clearly I need to make another trip to the Urban Craft Center in January to buy more of these little darlings...