Catch up

O neglected blog.  Amidst two busy months at work and home, I have connected with my creative side when not completely exhausted :)

First, my Kids Clothes Week Challenge from way back at the end of September.  Yes, I was cutting and sewing this back then, although I didn't finish until early October.  I used fabric from my stash - very please with the color combination.  I have been waiting to use the gold fabric, which is an old old Joann's print, for a long time.  I did make a mistake which happens to me a lot these days when I sneak a few minutes of sewing here and there - cut out the fabric upside down.  Fortunately it is not noticeable!

Puppet Show Tunic
Puppet Show Tunic
Puppet Show Tunic

And then there's Halloween... "Super AP" -- found red clothes, belt and favorite boots from AJ's wardrobe. Red felt mask with velcro closure and red felt arm cuff with 'laser' button. Red cotton bath towel made into a cape - perfect for being a super hero every night after the bath, too!

Super A
ap cape

Now the Rose Bush. She was supposed to be an Apple Tree, but this is what happens when your Joann's is temporarily closed and you buy fleece online where they do not label the colors :) So, an improvisation. The pants, top and cape are based on Making Children's Clothes patterns, and the headband I just whipped up. I expect at least the headband, cape and possibly the dress to be worn throughout the winter.

Rose Bush
Rose Bush sans cape
Rose Bush sans cape

Brown and Teal

Finishing up some summer projects here, well, actually, some early fall wardrobe items for the kiddos. I picked out these fabrics and didn't realize how much the kids outfits would coordinate. Brown and teal.
zigzag pants

Another pair of Oliver + S Sandbox pants for AJ, size 3. These are in decor-weight Nigella by Amy Butler. I love the zigzags. I tend to make crazy pants for AJ :)

playdate dress
And a Playdate dress, also Oliver + S, for Coco. I started this dress before going back to work in July, and it sat waiting for sleeves and pockets. I literally had 30 minutes this past week before husband and kids got home, and finished it then. I was astonished. I 'messed up' as usual by rushing to finish. The hem facing is showing, but I decided I liked it better this way, as I like the way the contrasting fabric looks lining the bottom of the dress. I used two fabric designs from the Bryant Park line, and added some dark green buttons I got at a thrift store.

Coco rocked this outfit over the weekend and will wear the 18-24 month size for a while I think.

perpetual party

It seems that we are in perpetual party mode with all the birthday parties these days!  What a life to have all these special kiddos around. 
miles is 1
gingerbread puppet

This weekend was the party for Miles, who looks like he could be AJ's little brother.  He has a crafty mom who has made him a puppet show stage and some puppets, and I wanted to do a puppet as well.  I wanted to make a gingerbread man for some reason... maybe because his mom is also into baking.  With some felt and some fancy ricrac, enter the gingerbread man. 

I made him a '1' shirt with a nice, oversized '1'. 

sandbox pants
I made AJ two more pairs of Oliver+S Sandbox pants for the fall wardrobe... this pair is made from some Jessica Levitt Timber design, I just love the little 'helicopters' -- is that what they are called?  This remind me of fall so much and will be a nice transition from summer since they are lightweight.  He has taken to wearing 'day clothes' to bed and night and these pants work really well for that, too.  The other pair (yet to photograph) are in some Joel Dewberry decor fabric.  Very wild.  I like wild pants for little boys!

Late summer sewing

Well these first two are from earlier this summer.  Shorts were made for AJ, and they were 'short' shorts, so I added some more fabric, and I like them even better.  The skirt is the Bo Peep skirt from Anna Maria Horner's Seams To Me.  Still a little big for Coco but soon enough she'll be rocking it.
summer shorts
bo peep skirt

Bonnets aplenty

This bonnet is another Kingpod pattern -- a gift for Isabelle's first birthday.  I am working on a dress out of these two fabrics for Coco for the fall...

isabelle's bonnet

This bonnet is from a 1960's coat and bonnet pattern that my aunt made for my niece when she was little.  I made the bonnet for McKenna's 2nd birthday.  Her mom is a mountain bike racer, so I thought the bicycle fabric was perfect!

Bike Bonnet

home decorating


I love adding new art to my home, especially when I can make it myself.  A few choice finds at Michael’s and Marshall’s one sale got me these two memory boxes for the knitted hats and socks/booties each of my children wore the day they were born.  They each have one hanging in their room.  My 15 month old loves pointing to the ‘hat’ and ‘shoes’.



And I am making an effort to get my paint bag out and hit the canvas!  I have a bunch of artist’s canvas laying around, and after admiring all the beautiful red rock landscapes here in Arizona, I decided to try recreating one.  here is a loose interpretation of Bell Rock in Sedona.  Acrylic.


And here is my father’s day present to my husband.  I took profile photographs of the kids, printed them out at high contrast on 8x12 paper, cut out the silhouettes, traced them onto canvas, and then painted them with acrylic.  This is about a 16 x 20 canvas.  IMG_7611

It feels good to make paintings and wall decorations!

Ready to Wear


So July was a bit of a crazy month.  I spent much of it getting ready to go back to work full time as a librarian, after being home for over a year full time taking care of my children.  I had my share of tears about the decision… 

So I had a marathon week of sewing, crafting, and wrapping up some project while the kids started school and I was home BY MYSELF for about a week before work started….  So to start, I had to finish up some projects for one of my best friend’s new baby boy.  I had made the sweater months ago, not knowing the gender.  I have always wanted to make this pattern.  The only issue is that it turned out on the small side, so probably a 0-3 rather than a 0-6 month fit. 



Rowan All Seasons Cotton Melange from WEBS

Ribbed Baby Jacket, Special Knits: 22 Gorgeous Handknits for Babies and Toddlers, by Debbie Bliss

Next, I made the little boy some ‘Melman’ pants using my own pattern (my son has some pants in this Michael Miller giraffe prints, and calls them Melman pants after the giraffe from Madagascar…) and a matching initial onesie.



Next I made two pairs of shorts for Coco, and it is a good thing because she has a skinny waist and these actually fit her there but have lots of room.

IMG_7549 IMG_7550 

Oliver + S puppet show shorts, 18-24 month size

Dolce Lilly by Tanya Whelan fabric and some leftover (vintage-ish) light red stretchy cotton



And I whipped up another ring sling for a friend who is due with a girl in September!  She picked the brown fabric (Circles from TweetTweet by Moda), and I just love how it turned out.  I used the striped fabric (Bamboo from Timber by Jessica Levitt/Windham fabrics) to make her 2.5 year old son his own sling, and then a matching Kingpod bonnet from Amy Karol.  I have a goal to make every little girl I know in Flagstaff one of these as a present.  They make wonderful birthday gifts I think.  I am obsessed!

Smashing smocks

smashing smock
I am still sewing up a storm, and two of my latest creations are a twist on mother/daughter themed clothing...  for me I made the Smashing Smock from Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me... this was a pretty easy and fun project, took me a few days to finish during naptimes and evenings.  I used fabric purchased on a whim because it was on sale on Sew Mama Sew and I liked the colors several months ago (Gabrielle in rust by Studio e Fabrics), and paired it with an equally loud crazy fabric (Dolce Lilly by Tanya Whelan) I bought from Pink Chalk Fabrics when making a friend's baby sling.  Orange, pink, green, purple: crazy.  Just the way I like it.

I think I need to do a little tweaking to this top, or wait until I stop breastfeeding :) in order for it to fit the way it is intended to, or I just need to keep working on my sewing skills.  Fitting clothes for adults is a lot harder than it is for little children!  I made this top in size medium, based on my measurements, but I think it would have been better a little looser on me.  But if I wear the top backwards (with the button opening in front) it fits pretty great.  And the v-neck opening is more flattering on me I think!  Not bad for the second real item of clothing I've made for myself.

Next, I added the Gabrielle fabric leftovers to the bottom of a knitted tank I made years ago for my son, which my daughter now wears, and is a little short.  Now it will be a funky dress, but probably not for another year since it seems to be more a 2T-3T size. (This photo is pre-hemming!)

My Evening Empire Dress

A few months ago I purchased the Evening Empire pattern and some cotton voile from Anna Maria Horner… when would I find time to make myself I dress?  I thought, but still, I wanted a blue dress in this luscious fabric… and I make so much for my kids, I decided it was time to try a full-size dress.  Kids clothes are so much less fabric.  I think my least favorite part of making a whole dress is wrangling with all the material.  I had never put in a zipper before, and found Anna’s directions pretty easy to follow, and was amazed at how great the zipper foot works!IMG_7496 

Overall I am happy with the dress and think it will get worn quite a bit.  I need to adjust the straps a little and make them shorter but other than that it fits pretty perfectly!  I of course made several mistakes in the making of the dress, but fortunately they aren’t that noticeable.  The wrong side of the fabric is facing out on one panel of the bodice, but the right and wrong sides of this fabric are nearly identical.  The interfacing is a little mixed up between the lining and the front of the bodice, but that is hidden!  And the zipper I ended up using is white and shows a bit so it doesn’t look as finished as I would like, but I can live with it.  It is my first zipper for goodness sake, and it works! And our JOANN’s is closed until winter because the roof collapsed last winter under all the snow, so I had to work with what I had on hand...  I never realized how much I rely on them :)IMG_7504 

The hardest part for me with this dress was deciding on the lining.  I didn’t want to use cotton, because I think I’ll wear this dress with tights and I don’t like to wear slips, so I chose a polyester taffeta-esque fabric from my stash in dark blue.  It makes the dress a little poofier, and the material was a pain to work with (very slippery and thin), but I think it will have the desired outcome!


It has been an Anna Maria Horner year for me.  I have sewed so many items from her fabrics, and now this pattern, and I have another project or two in the works from her book Seams to Me.  Thank you Anna for a wonderful year, I find such inspiration and joy from your beautiful fabrics and creative ideas!!!

Midsummer Morning Bonnet

Oddly enough, the children slept until 8 this morning.  So I made myself a bonnet from 7-8.  I love it!IMG_7485
I admit, I picked out the fabric the night before, thinking if I had a few moments I might get started… This is some lovely Denyse Schmidt  County Fair decorator weight fabric that I got from Sew Mama Sew a while back, with some stretchy combed cotton for lining from a shirt I tried to make myself several years ago without any luck.  The ribbon is a very soft grosgrain in light grey with a thin white stripe on each side.  I have had this ribbon hanging around forever, picked up at some thrift shop, waiting for the right project. I love the way it looks with this fabric, and it is very soft against my skin. 
I think I’ve now made about 8 bonnets from this great pattern I purchased from Amy Karol, totally totally worth every cent.  This is the first one in the Adult size that I have made.  I think I might try making the brim a little deeper next time, for more sun shading, I need that here in the desert mountains!IMG_7475     
Nothing like a bonnet for a Midsummer day – I am reminded of an old folksy song on the Nields’ kids CD Rock All Day Rock All Night,
Put on your old grey bonnet
With blue ribbons on it,
And we'll hitch old dobbin to the shay,
Over fields of clover
We will drive to Dover
On our golden wedding day.

Babies to Kids

There's a local baby/toy shop in town called Babies to Kids.  Lately I have been feeling like my own Babies to Kids with all the variety of handmade gifts I've been making...  what fun!  Here's a look at some of the special gifts I've been making for all my new special friends here in Flagstaff ...

Race Track Pack ~  a pouch for storing race cars that unrolls and has a 'race track' on one side of the pouch.  This was made for one of AJ's friend's birthdays, and it is a prototype.  I really like the idea of this!
race track pack
race track pack
Girlie Apron ~  made for one of AJ's spit-fire friends.  She isn't exactly a girlie-girl, but her mom tells me she enjoys twirling in this one.  I was going for retro 50's poodle-skirt style... note the vintage kitty-cat ribbon!
Isabella's apron
Driving blanket - a splurge of a yard of this fabric from the local sewing shop.  I love it!  I made it in an afternoon, and backed it with some Denyse Schmidt decor weight fabric I bought on sale from Sew Mama Sew...
aj and his car/train quilt
Birthday crown ~ made for AJ from leftover decor fabric from his curtains my mom made him when he was born, and I used Anna Maria Horner fabric for the gems... perfect!  It has velcro on the back and should fit him for years -- it fits me, when I need to feel like the queen :)

Mommy(or Daddy) and Me slings!  ~  Made for Beth, the owner of our local Stroller Strides.
She literally cheered us on at a 10K over the weekend then delivered her baby that night, no big deal :)  The sling is the first I've made, at her request, and I used a couple of patterns for guides -- Maya wraps website and Jan Andrea's patterns.  I struggled with the fabric choice at first.  I wanted something funky and colorful, but I was worried it would be too pink (Beth didn't know whether she was having a girl/boy).  I had purchased the polka dot fabric (Jennifer Paganelli I think) online and then found the nice lily/blueish fabric from the local sewing shop (Beth's oldest is named Lily).  I made sure to sew a billion extra rows of stitches to keep this sling secure, and used crazy stitch patterns to make it look nice...    Got the pink ring from an Arizona company, Sling Rings! And even Beth's husband can rock this sling, look at that tiny baby!

I had planned from the start to make big sister Lily her own sling to match, and here she is with her doll --  I just made a pocket sling and measured it on AJ to make sure it would fit.  She looks GREAT in it! (and I had to try it on myself, too...)

Beth's sling

Melman pants and a quilt-in

I keep forgetting to take pictures and also to post things about my sewing these days. Here are some odds n ends....
melman pants
First, some pants for AJ.  I used the Elasticated Pants pattern from Making Children's Clothes for these, and some giraffe (or Melman if you're familiar with Madagascar) fabric from Michael Miller.  Love these!  Nice and lightweight for the breezy 60-70's we're getting here in late spring.  And they can be PJ pants too.  Note the real underwear instead of a diaper... we are making progress in other ways here!

quilt blocks
And I started a kind of quilt-in at my house over the weekend.  I have a lot of scraps and decided to make some quilt blocks to use them up.  I am still thinking about the end result -- maybe a quilt for Coco since these fabrics are from many of the clothes I have made her, and it will be a nice memento of her early childhood.  I may do some Sunbonnet Sue blocks to go with.  Or I might make quilted purses/project bags out of them... I have a quilted bag my mom made and I love it.  We shall see...  in the meantime, I just love the gratification of cutting triangles and randomly sewing them together to make blocks -- so beautiful to look at too!!!

'Sewing for my sanity'

A friend of mine had the phrase 'sewing for my sanity' for her sewing blog, and I kept thinking of it all weekend long.  Between sick children, potty training, night feeding, doctor's visits, and just general spring haywire-ness, I have definitely been turning to my sewing machine for my sanity.  And I am pleased to report that several lovely items have resulted from this therapy...

Toile Love
toile tunicI have finally cut and sewn with my Anna Maria Horner Good Folks Toile.  It is a bit tricky to work with at first because it is like AIR, or as Anna Maria Horner put it, like BUTTER, but boy, the results are wonderful.  I turned first to a favorite pattern from Oliver + S -- the Swingset Tunic.  I have already made Coco two of these, and now she has a Toile version.  Every time I make this I feel like I perfect my sewing techniques a little more.  But that is true of all the Oliver + S patterns, they are so educational!

toile scarfWith some of the leftovers, I made myself a quick scarf. I've seen several nice scarfs out of this fabric, and I am pleased with mine, except I may redo the edging - some thrifted home decor tassels -- I sewed it flat, but I might try and sew the edging on in a circle, making the scarf just a tube.  Seems like it might be lighter...

Little things
I have a knitting project ready for finishing that I can't share yet... but I am so far very happy with the results!  Knit most often while watching episodes of Northern Exposure.  Love that show :)

ella's bonnetAnd I just finished another Kingpod bonnet, in the Baby size, for a friend's baby we'll be meeting in Phoenix later this week.  I used some nice Japanese sunflower fabric from our local sew/vac Odegaard's.  It is so sunny and lovely, and I thought this little chica needed something sunny since she is only visiting Phoenix and is actually from Anchorage Alaska!  

Finally, I made another kitchen mitt for a young lady who was the recipient of my Kid Chef Kit donated for LUNAFEST earlier this year.  She declared that she needed a mitt for each hand.  Nothing like getting good feedback, and since I had some leftover fabric, I got right on that and even added her initial to this one!