14 December 2014

I Spy Bucket

 small plastic jar + vase filler +
twenty five small objects + item list =
a fabulous I Spy game ready to play!


C is for Christmas Cardigan

I completed Cupcake's Christmas skirt at Halloween, when I made her Bo Peep outfit reversible.  I'm glad I did, because I haven't been able to do as much sewing as I've wanted to in the last few weeks.  But it needed a little red sweater to go with it, and I couldn't find one anywhere.  I was given one years ago for myself, that was always just a little too small, so I didn't mind resizing it down to fit her.  I just laid a shirt on top of the sweater, traced around it, and resewed it all together.  Done.  The sleeves are a little snug, but it works for the few times she'll wear it this month.  I may add a pin or button towards the top to add some sparkle.  

01 December 2014

quiet time here

I know it's been quiet here but I have been sewing quite a bit lately. I'm shooting for a Christmas as close to $0 as I can. We bought a real tree and I have to buy stamps for our Christmas cards, so obviously we're spending some money for our holiday ... but I'm trying to use materials we already have for making gifts. The results will be posted after Christmas, since the girls read the blog. No preview notes or photos, but I will say that C and D in the Alphabet Challenge will be covered.

In other homemaking news, we had a lovely Thanksgiving with my brother and his family visiting from Virginia. It snowed on Wednesday last week, so we had our first White Thanksgiving. The girls went sledding with their cousins in the morning before our big dinner.

Adam has figured out the secret to pie crust - he totally nailed it on every pie. The secret is - freeze the butter, then grate it with your food processor grater attachment. Don't ever touch the butter with your hands. Mix it in with the flour with a pastry cutter and handle the dough as little as possible until it's rolled out and in the pie plate. Adam has been trying for "flaky" pie crust for years, and this was fabulous.

01 November 2014

B is for Boynton Book

When the theme "storybook" was announced for Kids Clothes Week I decided to look on the shelf and see what books Cupcake really likes to read.  One of her favorites is Blue Hat Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.  If you have not read this simple children's book, you are missing out.  (To get a general idea of what I'm talking about, go here.)  Most of the book goes something like this: "blue shirt, yellow shirt, green shirt, oops!"  And so I decided to "oops" and make her one shirt with all the colors.

For fabric, I used what I had.  The same red for all the other red projects (the first pair of pants I made and all the 4th of July skirts).  The lime green was used as lining in her St. Patrick's dress and as a second layer on her Bunny Dress.  I randomly received a whole bunch of fabric from my friend's mom which included the yellow with tiny ducks and the small blue gingham.  

I used the St. Patrick's bodice pattern as my starting point, adjusting it slightly and making a round neck instead of square.  The back is my usual loop and button closure, because I have yet to attempt button holes or zippers.  I made my own quilt of fabrics for the bottom, using strips of various widths.  (I've learned that I would not be entirely opposed to a small amount of quilting in the future, as long as things don't have to be super exact.)  The real challenge for this project was the sleeves.  I'd done flutter sleeves, and peasant tops have sleeves, but no proper sleeves.  I was nervous, but followed the first part of the tutorial here and made my own pattern.  And they turned out great!  They aren't too tight or too loose and now I won't be so scared to do them again in the future.

A is for Apron

My little Cupcake absolutely loves sheep, so it just made sense to dress her up as Little Bo Peep for Halloween.  I finished the last of it for Kids Clothes Week last week.

Hat tutorial here and I added extra lace around the brim.  I was worried that it was a waste of time because she never wanted to try it on, but she wore it the entire night of trick-or-treating!

I made the shirt months ago when I was making lots of peasant tops (basic tutorial here).

I tried to be practical with the skirt and made it a reversible circle skirt (found here).  The flip side is Christmas fabric!  Just need to find her a red sweater and her Christmas outfit is done.

Bloomers are the same basic pants pattern I use for everything (originally here).  I used the cutest white eyelet for both the pants and the apron.

And for the apron there is no tutorial because I made it up as I went along.  At first I made the elastic for around the back of the neck too long, and then I cut it and made it too short.  It worked for the night of trick-or-treating, but if I'm going to keep it for future use, I think I'll cut the elastic entirely and make it straps to tie. 

As a bonus, my friend Sherry made her a crinoline.  And Grandma had made her the cloak for her baby blessing two years ago, and it was perfect for keeping her warm without detracting from the outfit.


23 October 2014

B is also for ...

Bento Ballet Bag. 

I found this tutorial for a little tote bag that I totally loved: the Very Shannon Origami Bento Bag. I've already made three and need to make at least three more. I made two for RG and JE for their dance class bags, and one for a friend as her birthday gift. My other three girls want them too - SM also takes dance but I haven't gotten her bag done yet because I had to do the birthday dresses first.

Anyway, the original tutorial mixes 3 different fabrics and doesn't line it. I used one solid cut of fabric and lined it to give it a little more strength and just for better looks. This is JE's bag. RG's bag has the same plain pink lining, and her's is pink with white Swiss dots on it. The birthday gift bag was a couple of shades of purple. Also, on the gift one, I left off the box corner seams so it can be reversible. The box corners do give the bag better shape, but it's fun to have it reversible.

And here's little Miss JE coming home from her ballet class with her bag carrying her shoes. Hooray for dance class! And she loves the bag.

22 October 2014

B is for buttons

More birthday dresses - another B word, and another Holiday challenge entry!

RG chose her pattern - the Oliver + S music box jumper (same as SM in May), and chose her fabric at JoAnn. It totally suits her. I made the pattern according to the proper sizing (altered for SM) but gathered the skirt rather than pleating it. I wish I'd made it a little longer for her, but it's fine.

She also chose the buttons on the back, which is the fun part. Note that they're doing the ombre thing - light at the top and getting gradually darker as they go to the bottom. The clothes I make are still super simple and basic, but I'm getting a little better at adding details and making things more personalized.

14 October 2014

A is for applique

I followed along, by reading but not sewing, with No Big Dill's "Sew All 26" challenge for herself and loved it. (I love her projects and photography anyway.) (Also, I've realized that one of the things that makes a sewing blog is the photography and settings ... and that's not going to happen here because I don't have time to drive all over just to find cool places to take pictures of the clothes I make, or set up fancy little photo shoots. You're stuck with my house as the background of pictures shot with my phone. Sorry. I'll try to keep the mess out of the frame.)

ANYWAY ... that was a rant ... I've thought about doing a Sew the Alphabet challenge myself when I finish some other things, but recently thought ... Wait. I can do it as part of all my other sewing! Between now and Christmas, the projects I'm doing fit in with A-B-C-D anyway! I need to figure out E-F-G because the quilt (my first quilt!!!) I've already started working on fits with H.

So. We start with A - applique. I'm doing an exchange with a quilting group I joined at the beginning of the year, and received a gorgeous "quilt picture," as my girls call it. This, for now taped up to the wall in my sewing area as inspiration, until I can figure out how to frame it and put it in my living room. Isn't it awesome?!?

SM loves it and wanted to make one herself for Grandma's birthday gift. I haven't learned yet how to piece quilts, especially into pictures, so we went with the applique method. I gave her a fat quarter of fabric (fat quarter = 18 x 22-inch cut of fabric) in blue, and she went through my scrap box to figure out all of her pieces. She cut and arranged for an entire afternoon one day, getting it all laid out. I did all the sewing to attach her little teeny pieces, and she did the binding. We didn't use batting or any quilting because it's a wall hanging, and, well, I'm out of batting right now.

SM using the machine by herself for the very first time!

Happy (late) birthday, Grandma!

I also did an applique on a t-shirt dress for TA's birthday - it took me a couple of attempts. The secret - stabilizer! Don't skip it. I wondered if I could get away with that, but no. I got about halfway around when the whole thing decided to get snagged in my machine. I pried it out and ripped a hole in the shirt in the process. So I removed the heart (lots of work with the seam ripper since the stitches were so teeny and compressed together) and started over, this time with stabilizer. And I covered the hole in the shirt. I need to reinforce a couple of sections of the stitching to make sure the edge of the heart is fully covered and doesn't start fraying in the laundry, but I got it on there in time for her birthday party at the park and she loves it!

Little Miss TA is 3 now!

28 September 2014

things to do with zucchini

I've always liked zucchini, but my mother-in-law had a garden this year so I got a LOT of it.  I've shredded some for the freezer, I've pureed some and added it to spaghetti sauce.  Here's a few other things I've done with zucchini this month.

Zucchini Boats - great to make with small zucchini.  Can be used for a whole meal or as a side.  Easy enough to change up the ingredients to suit your needs - add ground beef, mushrooms, etc.

Zucchini Chips - I've made these as chips (using small zucchini) and fries (with big to jumbo zucchini), dredging them in either milk or eggs.  Both work, both are tasty.

Zucchini Cobbler - I prepared the zucchini according to this recipe, but added my usual crisp blend for the top.  My husband loves apple crisp and gave a big thumbs up when he tried this.  And THEN I told him it was zucchini.  He was stunned.  This is now known as deceitful crisp at my house.  And this is awesome for large/jumbo zucchini because it uses so much up at once.

Zucchini Pizza - Yum Yum YUM!  Fabulous use for large zucchini (not too huge, or you get the soft spot in the middle with all the large seeds).  Tastes like regular pizza, but you don't feel so guilty eating a lot of it because there's no crust, just zucchini!  Definitely a favorite.

Zucchini Carrot Muffins - when given a lot of zucchini everyone's first thought is to make bread or muffins.  This was actually the last thing I tried (and they just came out of the oven).  I halved the sugar, and replaced the oil with more applesauce.  Very similar to the spiced carrot muffins I made last month, but with added pecans and raisins.  I'd make them again.  There are many other muffin recipes I'd like to try, so it's a good thing I've got a stash of shredded zucchini in the freezer.

25 September 2014

thrift store sheets

I found a purple Tinkerbell twin flat sheet at the thrift store, and there's not much more my toddler loves more than Tinkerbell (except maybe cheese).  And from that one sheet I made my own crib sheet (from this crib sheet tutorial), a pair of pajamas, and I'll use the last of the material for a little pillow cover.  Not bad for six dollars.  (And people say sewing is expensive.)