Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Gifts

I've been in a funk since Christmas has come and gone. I spent so much time in down-to-the-wire mode, I'm a little confused and lost now. I pick up a project and wander off to find that thingy I needed... forget what I was looking for and then see something in another room, set down the original project to work on another... find that thingy I was looking for to begin with and wonder what in the world I did with the first project. Anyone else there? I spend all day piddling with things and never get anything done.

Now that the gifts have all been gifted, I can share the handmade goodies that I was working on pre-funk.
For Buggy and my niece and nephew, I made pillows with their name appliqued on the front and a patchwork border. Here is my little niece's (her name is considerably shorter than the other two kids so she got some flowers too):

And on the back a big pocket! For Christmas it had stocking stuffer-y things inside like stickers and candy. But I was thinking it would be good for stashing secret stuff or taking toys and games on a car trip.

And, of course, we needed more manly colors for my nephew:

Plus a super cool button for my favorite T-ball player:

And where are pics of Buggy's pillow? Let's blame it on the funk. (Yeow, I'd better go back and make sure I used an "n" in the other spots)

Here is a fun project, I know I'll be doing some more of these around Mother's Day (don't look Mom). I've never done anything like this and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was.

I took pictures of the girls with a window behind their heads. A little photo editing to bump up the contrast and make them B&W, then I printed photos of each girl on regular paper. I used a sharp craft knife to cut out their heads and used that as a pattern to cut black paper in the shape of cuteness. Double-stick tape is holding it to the parchment colored paper. Originally, the silhouettes were slightly smaller than the 5x7 frames, but I thought it needed a bit more white space to look pleasing to the eye so I shrank their heads to 4x6 size. I also wanted oval frames to give it a more vintage-y feel but didn't realize until the last minute that they are really hard to find.

And now I'd like you all to take a second look at the shape of my youngest daughter's head and send a little sympathy my way.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fleece Coat

I mentioned that I wanted to make a coat for Buggy and was planning to use fleece. To be honest, I was worried about how it was going to behave. I even felt a little nervous when it was time to put scissors to fabric. But I am happy to report that fleece is wonderful stuff. One of my sewing pet peeves is exposed unravel-y seams, so that made working with fleece especially nice. One place I did have trouble was making a decent button-hole. Its like trying to cut through leather, even with a sharp craft knife. Does anyone have any suggestions to make it easier?

So here is my little model wearing her new coat:
This is the lining she picked:

I let her choose from the section of flannel backed satin because I wanted to add an extra layer of warmth. I hope it isn't overkill combined with the fleece.

And since my model wasn't terribly willing and the first picture is a little blurry, this is what it looks like holding still:

This is Simplicity 2534, which is a girl's size. I traced the size 3 but used the length measurements of the size 5 markings. I made a muslin from an old sheet and it fit her up pretty nicely, I wanted it a bit roomy so it will fit over layers. I don't say this very often about something I've sewn, but... I'm pleased. I think we might even take this out into public without fear of someone saying "Oh, did your mom make that for you". Its not that I'm ashamed that her clothes are handmade, I just don't want it to be immediately obvious. You know?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Tale of Two Dresses-Part Two

I learned a lot about creating a bodice that fits when using a commercial pattern on the first go round. This time I did not blindly cut the size that Simplicity seems to think will fit a 12 month baby. I took my chubby little cherub's chest measurement and did some measuring of the pattern pieces. A 6 month size seemed the closest so I cut a muslin from an old sheet and slipped it on. It fit quite nicely! I think the only thing I changed was the length of the skirt. While I had the bodice on my babe I measured from the bottom to where I wanted the skirt to fall and used that measurement for the the skirt pieces.

So where is the the hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth? In the tiny sleeves! For some reason I was fixated on having tiny white ribbon on the sleeves and nothing could sway me. Not even the growing pile of discards at my feet. Once I realized my mental health cannot support sewing tiny white ribbon it came together pretty quickly. So I finally got pictures taken and I filched a copy from my on-line preview to show the dress:

Have I had enough? Oh no, I can see the end of my Christmas crafting on the horizon and I have my next sewing project in the works: a fleece coat for Buggy. I've never sewn fleece, so I'll let you know how much gnashing is involved. Plus I think I'll invest in some lovely soft yarn to make myself a scarf. Now there's a project riddled with angst, I normally just skip straight to swearing. But I'm not ready to admit my mental health cannot support knitting. Stay tuned you might learn some new words.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Have you ever wandered through the Christmas section of a store and smelled a terrific cinnamon smell? And followed your nose to a display of little mesh sacks with half a dozen scented pine cones, for which they are charging $4.99?

I love that smell, but I'm just too cheap to plunk down that kind of money. So when I saw the craft in this post, I was excited to try it. And we even had the ingredients on hand, not that there's a lot, just cinnamon and applesauce.

Last night Buggy and I made these and I got that smell I'm after:
I strung them on a ribbon to make a garland decoration but the hearts (with two holes) are the only thing that hangs facing outward when the ribbon is suspended (er, duh). I'm just too OCD to hang it up like that so I'll get another little .50 cent jar of cinnamon for another batch. I think the little guys with one hole (I can hear you snickering) will turn into ornaments to hang on the tree or tie onto a gift: