Monday, August 30, 2010

Scrappy Squares Quilt Top

By-Jenny2

It started with this:

Jenny: First Log Cabin Squares

followed by this:

Jenny: Scrappy Squares

then became this:

Jenny: More Scrappy Squares

and finally this:

Jenny: Scrappy Squares Quilt Progress

This weekend, I attached the borders on my quilt top and it is done! Ironed and ready to be assembled, once I can find the backing that I want. Thanks to my husband for holding it for the pics!

Jenny: Scrappy Squares Quilt Top
Jenny: Scrappy Squares Quilt Top

For the backing fabric, I am thinking of flannel. I love the idea of backing blankets and quilts with flannel, it makes them so soft and snuggly. Since this Scrappy Squares Quilt will serve as a lap quilt in our living room, for watching movies and cuddling, I want it to be extra soft. I am going to hit the thrift store this week, to see if I can find some interesting flannel sheets. I have also found this solid set on sale. We'll see...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Link Love: Boys Boys Boys

By-Jenny2

Baby #2 is due to make his arrival before the next 3 months are over and I am on a mission to make a crib-sized quilt to welcome him. I've been looking for the perfect fabric(s) for this project, and it's no easy feat. Since you have 2 boys and I'm about to have 2, I thought it might be nice to round up some links to boy-friendly fabrics and projects. Here's a bit of an attempt at this effort.

Starting with fabrics...

The lovely Modern Organic Fabrics features several gender-neutral options, and bonus: they're organic! I especially like this Monaluna set, love the Scooters! I'm actually very tempted by this one, if only it didn't totally clash with the rest of our baby boy stuff...

Purl Soho features a beautiful selection of boy-friendly prints. On their site, I found the following:
- Riley Blake's Wheels, one of my favorite "boy" collection recently
- The Aldo to Zippy collection is pretty darn cute too
- And of course, there is the adorable Boys Will Be Boys collection by Free Spirit, I think you've mentioned this one before!

Fabric Worm, one of my favorite online fabric shops (mostly due to the sheer volume of cute prints they sell), has a pretty extensive stock of adorable children's fabrics. On their site, I found:
- The snuggly and organic Cloud 9 Forest Friends flannel collection
- The fun Urban Circus collection by Laurie Wisbrun
- And lovely custom bundles like this Monaco Birds set, this Scooters Teal/Cocoa set, this Boy's Alphabet set and so, so many more!

I love Michael Miller's Zoology collection and wish it came in more colorways. I am particularly enamored with the Citron version. Would make super cute PJ's, don't you think?

I also found slim pickings but very cute stuff on Kumquat.

Moving on to projects...

Sew, Mama, Sew! recently did a great round-up for back to school clothes tutorials for boys.

Ivy Designs just wrote the cutest tutorial for Sew, Mama Sew! about clothing labels.

And of course, there are the archives from the Celebrate The Boy! series by Made by Rae and Dana Made it, tons of great stuff there!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help?

Hello everyone!  It's Angel.  I'm popping in here briefly to ask if any of our readers have difficulty viewing my photos on the blog.  Here's an example:

Angel:  Baby Kimono from Habitual


Thanks for your input!

Baby Kimono from Habitual:

By-Angel



Angel:  Baby Kimono from Habitual

One of the first projects I finished when I got my sewing machine back was this sweet baby kimono from Habitual.  It had been hanging out in my WIP basket for over a year!  I started it when I was still pregnant, so you can do the math. 

Angel:  Baby Kimono from Habitual

I went back to read your post about making kimonos from Weekend Sewing, and the Habitual pattern seems to be much simpler to sew. I do wonder how they would compare in fit, since that is the true test of a pattern.  When I make a gift for someone I want it to be beautiful AND practical (and that means it should fit and be comfortable!)  This one is the 6 to 12 month size, so in all honesty it's too small for Silas at 13 months.  But I think it would have fit him 6 to 9 months pretty well, maybe up to 10 months.

Angel:  Baby Kimono from Habitual

I still think it looks pretty cute!  If this was the next size up I could see using it for pajamas.  I'd love to use snaps on the inside and outside instead of tying, I feel like all that tied bias tape is too bulky.  


Angel:  Baby Kimono from Habitual

Have you picked a pattern for Ben's pajamas? I'm on a fabric buying fast, at least for the next month or two. The only exception is if I find fabric at the thrift store! I may have something in my stash that would work, although some nice flannel would be cozy with Autumn around the corner!  (WHY did I just go to Modern Organic Fabrics and click on THIS?  No buying!)  I'm thinking I will try the Weekend Sewing Pattern next, and see which one seems to fit the best.  I'll report back! 

You can get the pattern from Habitual here:  Baby Kimono Pattern , she does ask you to email her for a copy of the pattern which is a change since I downloaded it several years ago.

There's also a Flickr group for the Habitual Baby Kimonos, some really cute stuff in there!

OK, I'm off to look up what "stitch in the ditch" means, I just can't keep up this charade!  I've read it in two of your posts and am so clueless about sewing terms that I have to look up the definition.  I have a feeling I should know what this is!

Jenny-mini-button Yay for getting all these projects completed!! That kimono is so cute. And so is the kiddo, I can't believe how big he's getting! I think the fit is probably better on this one than on the Heather Ross kimono. I got pics from two of the moms to whom I sent kimonos as gifts, and the babies -- while absolutely adorable -- didn't seem like they were all that comfortable. Maybe I'm being overly critical and self-conscious.

In any case, if this Habitual pattern is easy, I might try it next time I make a baby kimono. I'd love to try one of those in a knit fabric, wouldn't that be so comfy? I have yet to jump in and try sewing with stretchy fabrics... I don't have a specific pattern for Ben's PJs, I was just going to make some basic pants in cute fabrics and buy some matching snug t-shirts -- easy! With 2 boys in the house soon, I'm scheming about matching PJ's in newborn and 3T size...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sewing Machine: Fixed!

By-Angel

Sewing Machine:  Fixed!

Sewing Machine: Fixed!

Working on one of these in the photos, (taken from my computer)! Yes, I sew in front of the computer. Partly because it's the only place to put my sewing machine, partly because it is super convenient if I am working on a pattern or tutorial that is not printed out. I'm thinking the next step would be putting a pair of headphones in and either watching TV shows (Project Runway? Lost?) or listening to Pandora or music on iTunes.

Do you usually sew in solitude? If not, what's your soundtrack?

Jenny-mini-button I am as giddy over your getting back your sewing machine as if it were my own! Yippee! If you have the space on your desk, sewing in front of your computer is actually a good idea. You probably save on paper too. I always sew on the dining room table, and always with music on Pandora! I don't think I could watch a show at the same time -- too distracting for me, I would make mistake after mistake. Can't wait to see what projects you complete next! And your hair looks fab, by the way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Carseat Backpack

By-Jenny2

Here's one of those projects that seems like a good idea before you start it, and then the more you get into it, the more you regret your decision.

With that preface... Let me backtrack a little bit. Last year, when we traveled to France and Italy, we were lucky to borrow our friend Chelle's carseat backpack. That thing is one of the smartest products out there for parents of young children: it allows you to carry your kid's carseat on your back. Sounds heavy and cumbersome, but if you've ever had to lug a carseat around, you know what I'm talking about. When you have to lug that carseat around on planes and trains in between cars AND you have other bags and suitcases with which to wrestle, you can imagine it comes in quite handy!

Jenny: Carseat Backpack

Since that fabulous trip last year, we have moved to Washington. And so, when it was time to travel to California with our carseat a couple of weeks ago, I wondered what to do. Should we just make do and carry the carseat by hand on bus, train and plane? Should I shell out $40 to purchase that awesome Cheeky Monkey Pac Back? Or should I try to make a knockoff myself?

By that point, I would have had to pay for super fast shipping on top of the purchase, so I decided to use what I had on hand to make a homemade ghetto version of the carseat backpack. Yeah. Like I said, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Jenny: Carseat Backpack

I had some upholstery weight fabric, some heavy duty interfacing and some batting on hand. To complete my supplies, I purchased about 10 yards of synthetic webbing, 3 parachute buckles, and 1 set of strap extenders. Including the cost of the fabric and notions I already had, I'm pretty sure the total came close to $30-35. Reminder: the price of the actual product is $40. Again, not the best, most cost-efficient idea, but I was on a roll by that point.

Jenny: Carseat Backpack
Jenny: Carseat Backpack
Jenny: Carseat Backpack

I had recently made the Toddler Backpack from Made by Rae, so I used some of what I learned from her pattern to make the straps and the basic backpack body, and I winged it for the rest, using an actual backpack for size and construction references. It took me the length of about 2 afternoon naps to get it made, start to finish, so not too much of an investment. I tried to stitch half-a-dozen times over every seam that would carry weight. Overall, I aimed for solidity over perfection. It was definitely not my most polished project.

Jenny: Carseat Backpack
Jenny: Carseat Backpack
Jenny: Carseat Backpack

The result was decent. It allowed my husband to carry the carseat on his back from Washington to California and back, through a couple of layovers as well as public transportation (before we got our rental car, and after we returned it). He complained quite a bit about the awful quality of the buckles and strap extenders. We ended up tying knots in all the webbing to prevent slippage. And I think the carrier was far less comfortable than the actual one we had borrowed the previous summer.

Jenny: Carseat Backpack
Jenny: Carseat Backpack

Toward the end of our return, he said he heard a crack in the fabric. I have yet to examine the carrier closely, but I'm thinking we may not get another use out of it, unless I strengthen all those seams once again. We did however get quite a few compliments and questions from other parents while going through the airports, so I don't feel TOO incompetent -- but I did point them all in the direction of the actual industrially made product.

In conclusion: if you're going to be traveling with a carseat in tow, that Cheeky Monkey carrier sure is a good buy. And no, this is not a paid endorsement.

Angel-mini-button Jenny how frustrating that all that time and effort did not pay off!  Do you think using different materials would have helped?  The construction looks good, in terms of your plans.  We've used that same car seat backpack, also borrowed from Chelle, and it was a real lifesaver.  I am so inspired that you tried making one on your own, you really go for it and I love it!  Not being afraid to fail is huge, and shouldn't be underestimated as a learning tool.  I hope you can repair it and keep using it! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Painted Thank You Cards

By-Jenny2

Good morning! It is a beautiful Monday in Seattle and I'm going to write this quick, quick post before taking the kiddo out for some fresh air and sunshine!

Here is a paper craft I did with Ben last week. As you know, he had a birthday nearly a month ago, and we are well overdue for sending out thank you cards. I always love making thank you cards with him, it has become a bit of a tradition after birthdays and Christmas. I like to think that the handmade aspect adds a personal touch to the sentiment of gratitude. In any case, it makes for a fun arts-and-crafts activity with a little one.

Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards

I started by having Ben paint with some of his new watercolors on simple white cardstock.

Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards

When the painted paper was dry, I cut them down the middle and folded them.

Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards

We then stamped "thank you" on some colored cardstock. I did most of the stamping, but kept it intentionally rough around the edges, so as to keep some consistency with the 3-year-old-made look of the cards.

Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards

I also cut some color drawing paper to the size of the inside of the card. The paint kind of came through some of the cardstock, so I wanted a clean surface on which to write our notes. Out came the glue gun, and I pasted the "thank you" on the top of the cards and the color paper on the inside.

Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards

Ta-da! It's nothing fancy, but they're made by hand and with love. Now, to finish writing and mailing them... But not this morning! We're off! I hope you have a wonderful start to the week.

Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards
Jenny: Painted Thank You Cards


Angel-mini-buttonI am amazed at how well this project turned out! It seems so simple, but the end result is quite beautiful. I have some of Ian's watercolors saved for this very thing!

Friday, August 20, 2010

L-L-L-L-L-ink Love..........

By-Angel

Sewing machine rescued! Let's see, it was about 2 weeks ago since I dropped it off, and it wasn't working when you were visiting (and hadn't been working for a few weeks before that). I'm too lazy to look up the date so I can do the math, but suffice it to say that I haven't had a functional sewing machine in several months. In honor of my fixed sewing machine, I am going to focus on sewing links for today!

Pieces I have in my WIP basket that I will finish before I start anything new:

--Towel Rug from Handmade Home (Desperately need this as a backup in the bathroom, I cut the pieces back in February!)
--Final curtain from the Kei fabric I posted about back in March (yes, my living room has been missing a curtain for almost four months)
--Baby kimono I started before Silas was born (so about 15 or 16 months ago)
--One or two Joseph Blocks for Anna Maria Horner's Rainbow Around the Block project (already cut the pieces!)

DSC_0002

And then I plan to move on to:
--something from the I Love Patchwork book (Lap Quilt)?
--at least 3 or 4 skirts from Maya*Made's recycled t-shirt pattern (sewing with knits?  EEK!)
--Fall Pillow from Cluck Cluck Sew
--Mama's Bag from Handmade Home

I'd love to see what links appealed to all of you this week, feel free to leave them in the comments!  Or, visit Stumbles and Stitches on Facebook and share the links there!  Or share both places!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little Dude Necktie

By-Jenny2

So, as I wrote in my last post, we were just in Santa Barbara for a wedding. About a week or two before we headed out of town, I started freaking out. What was my kiddo going to wear to the big event? I didn't have any formal attire for Ben whatsoever, aside from khakis and a casual button-down. I'm not one to stuff my kid in a suit for a wedding, but I still wanted him to be appropriately dressed.

Thank goodness for mama buddies! I put the word out to a couple of my local friends with boys and was able to borrow dark pants, a chic button-down and some black shoes for Benjamin. Still, having no idea how "California casual" or "Hollywood fancy" the event was going to be, I wanted to be prepared for the more formal scenario. I figured a tie would be a good thing to have in my back pocket, just in case. I was however quite unwilling to spend $20 or more on one, in case it stayed in my back pocket all night. So... I made one!

Jenny: Little Dude Necktie

Well, actually I made two, because I couldn't decide on fabric, and I hadn't seen the shirt we ended up borrowing by that point. Plus, if I'm going to go through the process, might as well make it worth my time and double up on the results!

I found this free, straightforward necktie pattern (PDF) by Ottobre Design. It's printable and only has about 3 steps. For fabric, I used a thrifted navy blue with white design cotton curtain for one tie, a fat quarter of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley for the other tie, and a thrifted navy blue pillowcase for both linings.

Jenny: Little Dude Necktie
Jenny: Little Dude Necktie
Jenny: Little Dude Necktie

This project is extremely straightforward, with one disclaimer: unless your fabric is super thin, don't use interfacing, it is not necessary. I used the thinnest interfacing out there and it still ended up making the tie nearly impossible to turn inside out. I had to wrestle with a safety pin and a chopstick, cussed up a storm, and almost gave up on both ties. It took me forever and then a bit longer to turn them all the way. The interfacing also makes the tie quite "unforgiving", as my husband put it, to tie on. In summary: skip the interfacing for this necktie!

Jenny: Little Dude Necktie
Jenny: Little Dude Necktie

Another tip for this project is to add a "tuck-in" thingie on the back of the tie. The tail kept sticking out to the side and I ended up stuffing it between a couple of shirt buttons.

In the end, Ben would have totally fit in without the tie. BUT, since 1) he was very excited during the tie-making process, asking me a whole bunch of questions, 2) he admired his dad putting on a suit and TIE before the wedding, and 3) his little buddy the ring bearer was also wearing a tie for the ceremony, we figured we might as well put it on him and avoid a disappointed melt-down! He loved it so much, it was too cute!

Jenny: Little Dude Necktie
Jenny: Little Dude Necktie


Angel-mini-buttonI will forever have the image of you throwing a fit while wielding a chopstick stored in my memory, for whenever I need a good laugh. I am imagining you with the tie pinned in between your knees with you pulling on it and poking it violently. Last time I got that frustrated is when I was making a strap for something and needed to turn it inside out, it kept getting stuck and I almost had an aneurysm.

As always, Ben is adorable. He is growing so fast! And just wait, when the new baby gets here Ben will look like a giant. The ties are fab, great job!

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