Monday, April 30, 2007

Fun and Work

Saturday morning we took Carter into Lowes for a cub scout activity. Twice a month they have a free children's workshop, where children can make something out of wood. Saturday was a squirrel/bird feeder.

Mason made one, too.
And Jack.
It was a good time. I stayed and helped the boys while Joe shopped with Taylor (who didn't want to stay), Spenser and Sawyer.

On our way home, we stopped at two yard sales. I only bought a box of vintage glasses. The entire box was cheaper than buying a set of four at a thrift store. The lady selling them said they came from a church down the street who was remodeling their kitchen. I'm guessing there are 20-25.

And for Kirsten, a picture of Sawyer in his orange, goldfish outfit and "vintage" jacket.

Other blog-worthy, but not photo-worthy moments of our weekend: Sick baby. Leaking shower needing caulk. Basement flooding. New hot water heater. Replacing valve on the other leaking hot water heater. No hot water on first floor (including dishwasher and bath/shower). Replacing sump pump motor. (Thank you, Kyle, for all of your help!) Which means today I have to catch up on laundry and dishes, in addition to my normal Monday morning routine of vacuuming and mopping.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Week in Review

Joe is coming home today. It's been a relatively good week. Here are a few highlights of our week.
Jack, who earned his yellow belt 3 weeks ago, actually received his belt in karate this week.

Spenser, when left alone with a tape dispenser and her baby brother, got creative. As you can see, he was not happy. Not to mention as I was trying to take the pictures (I had no time to try to focus), Spenser is continuing to rip the tape off his head. (It almost makes me want to laugh. A very pitiful laugh.)
A trip to the free railroad museum right here in my town. Our first time there (in more than 6 years of living here.)
Video calls between Daddy and children.
Buttons and fabric from Katie's birthday giveaway.
And a bird applique (inspired by this Alexander Henry print). This one will go in his diaper bag as a backup for his frequent diaper explosions.

One thing that I did not photograph for my "Week in Review" is stepping on a diaper in the dark, late at night, only to realize that sleeping Spenser had removed her diaper and pajama bottoms and was wearing a skirt.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sewing for Sawyer

Last night (after the children were in bed), I started to sew. I find I have to keep myself busy while Joe is away or I start hearing noises and get scared in this big, old, semi-haunted house of ours.

I sewed a "sacque" from a vintage pattern (or a jacket, as I would call it), which I've made before. The fabric is new, not vintage. As I was sewing it, all I could think about was green olives. That's what the fabric reminds me of.

The sacque is lined in white cotton (although the pattern did not call for lining) and has a red, vintage button closure. The neck is gathered which I think adds cute detail. I needed to alter the pattern slightly, because it was newborn size and Sawyer, at 7 months, is far from newborn size. It also called for bias tape around the neckline and for ties, which I didn't love. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 length, so it should be nice and springy. Hopefully it will fit him.

And Tuesday night I finished his orange polka dot outfit. I cut out one leg of his pants on Friday, during his catnap and then he woke up. I worked on it in small increments until I finished it late Tuesday night. He only got to wear it for about 1/2 hour on Wednesday morning, after his bath, before he had another diaper explosion, which resulted in a second bath. Luckily, all stains were removed and it's as good as new. (And that's a goldfish, in case you couldn't tell.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Smock

Joe is out of town this week, so everything has been crazy and hectic. Last night, after all the kiddos were in bed, I decided I had to sew. I just needed some "me" time and time to think. (I always think and ponder things while I sew. It's very therapeutic for me.)

I have seen a lot of cute smocks around and have been wanting to make one for Spenser. This smock is actually adapted from a dress pattern, minus the sleeves and not sewn together in the back.I used bias tape around the neckline, armholes, hem, and for the two sets of ties. I would have liked to have used red bias tape, but when you start a project at 10:00 p.m., you have to use what you have.
This morning, I managed to convince Spenser to try it on for a photo. It's a little long, but she'll grow into it in no time. (And it will fit her for a long time.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Spring Walk

We live in a small town. I always thought I was a big-city gal (in my all-black, punk days), but now that I'm a mom, I'm definitely all about small towns. We don't have mail delivery to our house, so we have to pick up our mail at the post office. On days I don't have to go anywhere, I usually don't check the mail. It usually equates to only checking the mail about 3 times a week. Pretty pathetic. Even more so because we only live a few blocks from the post office.

Yesterday was so nice, I decided to take the children out for a walk. Apparently Spenser was excited, because she got all dressed up for the occasion. A crown, a smocket, and a purse. She even pushed her favorite baby in her shopping cart.

When the sidewalk changed from brick to cement, she carried her shopping cart over the hump.

We passed the local fire station and peeked at the trucks. The children never grow weary of the fire engines.We even had a good mail day! Karyn sent some Cadbury Popping Mini Eggs (chocolate eggs with Pop Rocks inside) and some buttons. She truly spoils me. These eggs are apparently only available in Canada. She held a giveaway and I didn't win. But, she sent me some anyway. And can you read the note? It says, "Now you can stop whining." I wasn't whining. Was I?!?
So, having my camera with me, it was only fitting that we opened the eggs before we headed home from the post office. Mason is still trying to figure out why his throat is continuing to pop and crackle after the candy is gone. We stood there listening to each other's mouths. (I'm pretty sure some people thought we were nuts.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Weekend Report

Trampoline. Smarties. Softball. Gecko. Nursing on the hammock. T-ball. Basketball. Croquet. Croquet-Basketball. Badminton. Cleaning up the yard. Filling the sandbox. Enjoying the warm weather. Loving family time.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday's WIPs

I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head. Bits here and bobs there. Trying to figure out things in my head. Nothing really coming together yet. More ideas than I have time. Do you do that, too?

Anyway, my current WIPs shouldn't surprise you. I want to make Sawyer another outfit. I really think after this one, I'll be done ... for awhile. Seriously. Are you doubting me? I'm thinking that orange polka dot. It will be different from all the blue ones I've made of late.

And another bib apron for Girl. Yes, we still call her that. You didn't think we would take away that endearing nickname, did you?

And, finally, I want to make that short-sleeved jacket. I'm thinking I might make a mock-up from a thrifted sheet first. My friend, Christy (who has a degree in fashion design), looked at the pattern and has intimidated me. I'm wondering if I can do it. I think she mentioned princess seams and them being difficult to sew on a curve.

All of these projects sound well and good, but, first, I have to tidy around the house. Vacuuming never ends in this house. And laundry. And dishes. And the picking up of toys. And ...

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Another One

I'm sorry. Are you sick of these yet? Apparently, I'm not, so bear with me.

Sawyer needs spring/summer clothes. He is growing so quickly that he's running out of clothes for the proper season. (I think he weighed 18 pounds at his 6-month checkup two weeks ago. He's a big, breastfed boy.) I've been thinking that the pants can always be cut into shorts later for summer, if needed. I used that wonderful Michael Miller Dotty Dot from Karyn. See? Now I'm not afraid to cut it.

Some time this week, I'm going to generically applique one onesie to match a variety of his outfits to keep in his diaper bag. On Sunday we were only at church for 1/2 hour when he had a diaper explosion and I had no other clothes for him. (Sadly I sound like an inexperienced mother, don't I?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Smocket Real Good

Smocket real good.

I sewed a Smocket for Spenser. I had been wanting to make her one, but was waiting for the "perfect" fabric. You know how it is. I decided the perfect fabric was this sheet.

I made the reverse side in white cotton with a pocket to match the front. I had to use Velcro at the top instead of tying at the shoulders (because I forgot to add seam allowance), which is fine. It makes it easier for Spenser to remove it. A million and one times. Don't get me wrong. She loves to wear it. It's just more fun to take it off.

And this lovely parcel came from Karyn. Remember when I was sad (complaining?) that I didn't have enough of the blue dotted fabric for the boys' Easter tie and the baby's Easter outfit? Well, look what came in the mail yesterday. Some more of that lovely Dotty Dot fabric. (She's the one who originally sent me the first bit.) What a friend! Thank you, Karyn. But, next time could you send it overnight so I can make the ties? (just kidding)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tea for Three and Crumpets for Four

I have found myself in the thrift stores a lot lately. I guess when I take Mason to preschool, I have "extra" time in town.

Last week, I found a cute tea set for Spenser. There were four plates, but only three teacups. I imagine tea parties for three. Me, Spenser and her beloved baby doll or a friend or ...

Who knows. Maybe one day we'll find the fourth teacup.

A few little books. A vintage fondue cookbook (which my friend, Nikki, just informed me that her husband has from when he was younger!). A candlewicking book, which I never heard of until finding this book. And a vintage book on softies.

And then I found this cool tee pee. I think it's actually a candle holder (maybe?). It's metal and was with the housewares. It doesn't have any sharp edges, so it's now a toy for my boys. Taylor was disappointed that the sticks didn't go all the way down to the bottom. He can be so technical.

Some thrift days are luckier than others.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Bib Apron

It has been overcast, rainy, and windy in the mid-Atlantic area, so I apologize for the dark photos.

Spenser is a slob when it comes to eating. She's a messy little thing. She wipes her hands on her shirt (which she learned from her older brothers) and drips when she uses a spoon ... or her hands. But this little girl won't wear bibs. No matter how hard we try, she just rips them right off.

Lately she loves to wear the apron I made her last year. It made me think. How can I protect her clothing while she eats? (Most days we strip her down to her diaper.) What can I do with those vintage towels at the thrift store? And I finally decided to make a bib apron with an absorbent towel. It's in the fashion of the kitchen towel aprons that I've made before, but for a different purpose and a different type of towel. So far so good. She likes to wear it and keeps it on. She doesn't realize it's really just a bib. (I have another one to make, but I bought the wrong bias tape at the store. I hate when that happens.)And for myself, I made a waist apron. I sewed bias tape along the top and used it as my ties. The apron is absorbent, in case I need to dry or wipe my hands. I love the print. I'm happy to have found a use for the towels.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Little Reminder

The Fat Quarter Challenge was originally supposed to end on Sunday, April 15th. A few participants have asked for an extension. Please remember to add your photos to our flickr group as soon as you can. We will be leaving it open for a bit longer.

We can't wait to see you creations. And don't forget, we will hold a random drawing for a winner.

(The above photo is a card holder. See this tutorial for an example. Hers is better.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Concert and WIPs

Last night was Jack's kindergarten/first grade choral concert. There was a lot of singing and dancing. So much activity that all of the action shots turned out blurry. It was cute.

My WIPs for this weekend are using these thrifted, vintage hand towels. Something for Spenser and something for me.
And my biggest WIP this week has been helping Sawyer practice sitting. He's doing a great job. He can recover himself when he gets wobbly and, on occasion, he has gone from army crawl to sitting by himself. Oh, and did I mention he army crawls everywhere? Every. Where. And he's been caught on his knees rocking back and forth. He's so busy and growing so quickly.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Lotus Bag and Some Goodies

Yesterday I made Linda's Lotus Bag. It was a fairly simple non-pattern, non-tutorial pattern/tutorial, although I'm not positive I got the shape and measurements correct. That always seems like the hardest part for me. I used leather straps (which she sells here, or sold here). I was surprised at how easily my sewing machine sewed through the leather. I'm sure if the straps were wider, my machine may have struggled some. I used Alexander Henry's "Lemon Blossom" fabric, which is so refreshing.

All in all, I love the bag. It's large and roomy. Joe says it's very stylish.

I've received a few goodies in the mail in the past few days. The above fabrics and cookbook came from Eren through a little swap. The cookbook has lots of yummy-looking recipes. There are a few that I wouldn't make, like the Chocolate Potato Candy and the Cocoa Potato Cake, being as how my children feel about potatoes. But most of the recipes look good. Maybe I can torture my children with more desserts. Mmmm. Potato desserts.
And, finally, I won a drawing from Katie's blog and received these little scraps of vibrant fabric. My favorite is the fish on the bottom left. They crack me up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Birdie Shirt and a Bunny

This is the onesie I was originally making for Sawyer's Easter outfit. A little bird, inspired by some vintage fabric I saw on ebay (that has also been made into an apron). I love that fabric. It's very fun. And mod. And costs more money than I can justify to pay. That's why I have to pretend that I own some of it and applique it onto my baby's shirt.

A few weeks ago I found a really cute tutorial for a cashmere bunny, but I couldn't find any thrifted cashmere. I decided to use my fat quarter and make one for the baby. He has a grosgrain ribbon tail and satin ribbon ears. The baby loves to chew on it. And it's the perfect size for him to hold. (The reverse side is solid green with a fat quarter heart appliqued on.)

Last night I made apple enchiladas for dessert. I rarely make desserts because they don't get eaten. These are simple and tasty. The kids really loved them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Year of the Tote Continues

So many spring birthdays have popped up in the past 2 weeks. First, my sister, Emily. Then my sister, Lisa. And my friend, Brinda. And finally, my sister-in-law, Brenda.

Back in January, I declared it "the year of the tote," as I was planning to gift tote bags for all birthdays. It has kept me busy the past week or so. But, now that the birthdays have passed, and the totes have been gifted, it's time to talk about them. (Can't spoil the surprises ahead of time, can we? Especially since they read my blog.)

When I'm sewing gifts for others, I try to keep in mind their likes, dislikes, and personalities as much as possible. From left. My friend, Brinda, is very quiet and shy and probably wouldn't want to carry a flashy tote, so her tote is pretty and floral. My sister, Emily, on the other hand, is an extrovert and has a wild streak that I love. She got the funky, retro Alexander Henry "Mocca" fabric that makes me smile. My sister, Lisa, has a flair for fashion, so she rightly deserves the bag with purses and shoes. And Brenda, my sister-in-law, loves the Smurfs. She has the whole vintage glass collection. When I came across that Smurf fabric, I knew it was destined for Brenda. Happy birthday, friends and sisters.

And another birthday tote for Joe's niece, Ellie, who had a birthday party on Saturday. We gave her a floral tote, a Martha Stewart dish towel apron, and some Hello Kitty lip gloss, nail polish, etc.

And just more proof that not all projects go smoothly. I won't even go into detail about all the issues I had with this Smurf tote. Just when I thought it was finally finished (and I was singing praises), I noticed a stick pin sticking out of the side. Unfortunately, the head of the pin was too large to fit through the outside, so the bag had to be partially disassembled for the (ahem) third time to remove it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Duds

I did it. I made ties for all of my boys (including Joe) in time for Easter. Sawyer had matching pants and a tie, in this fashion appliqued to his onesie (thanks to Capello and Lori for pointing me in that direction). I used a light blue fabric with small, white, random polka dots.

Spenser had an A-line dress with cap sleeves (Simplicity 4557) and matching panties (Simplicity 5374). The dress totally reminds me of those cute Japanese dresses, although you really can't tell in this photo.

And I had a skirt to match Spenser's dress (and we had matching headbands). The fabric from Spenser's dress, my skirt, and our headbands was the Simply Shabby Chic cotton shower curtain I picked up while thrifting for 95 cents. (Sorry for that pix of me, but it was the only in-focus photo of my skirt.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Why I Hate to Use the Good Stuff and a WIP

While I'm getting better at using my "good" fabrics, I'm now more aware of why I hate using them. It's not because I'm afraid I'll screw it up or that I won't ever be able to find it anymore or that I'm not worthy to use my good fabrics on myself (although they are all valid points and I used to think those were the reasons). It's because I use them to make totes:

and then a "better" idea comes along and I don't have enough of it left (which results in "oh, no! what if I can't find any more?!?")

Case in point. I've been using this tote since Thanksgiving. It's a little Christmasy and wintry, so I decided, on a nice warm spring day this week, that I needed a new springy one. I searched through my fabric stash with "no, too summery," and "no, too autumny," before finding the perfect* one. I quickly sewed up my tote and decided that the fabric would make a perfect outfit for Sawyer, too. Okay, I have enough fabric for that. Cool.

Then I started thinking about an email from Kirsten where she asks if I have any Easter clothing plans for my children. Then she suggests pants for Sawyer and matching ties for the boys. I loved that idea, but wasn't sure if time would allow it. When I realized I might have time, I went to the fabric store looking for some springy fabric. I could not find anything that was Eastery, yet boyish enough. As I was sewing the tote, for myself using the "good stuff," I realized that the dotted fabric would be perfect for my boys' ties. Now, I'm not sure if I'll have enough. I think I can make a few bow ties, but Taylor flat-out refused my bow tie offer yesterday (and I really don't blame him).

So, this leads me to my WIP for today and tomorrow:

1 - Figure out how to make ties using Taylor's tie as a template. I think the younger boys might go for bow ties.

2 - Make a pair of pants with appliqued onesie for Sawyer (hopefully pants and not shorts -- please let there be enough fabric, it's cold outside).

3 - Consider a new dress for Spenser using the white and pink chenille (from a swap with Sarah).

And Mason is already asking about Shrinky Dinks.

*The fabric is Michael Miller "Dotty Dots" courtesy of Karyn.