Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm enjoying the Christmas season.  I sure hope you are as well!  I still have a few gifts that need to be finished.  I should easily be able to be finished by Epiphany.  I've been waiting to show off the doll I made for Christmas.   I had a hard time choosing what kind of doll to make for my 15 month old nephew.  I wanted a doll with fabric hair and clothing that was sewn right on the body.  I did a lot of pattern searching before settling on modifying the Black Apple Doll Pattern.  I really love the pattern as it is presented, but I wanted a little boy doll so some modification was in order. 

His hair is made from fleece.  His face, hands, and feet are made from flannel.  His shirt is made from a velour  shirt that my grandfather used to wear quite a bit.  His pants are made from a chambray work shirt that my grandfather often wore.  I modified the pattern to add hands and feet, make the arms a bit wider, make the legs much wider, and divide the dress into shirt and pants.  It was fun to make.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Knit Ornaments

Every year I like to make an ornament of some sort to send to my extended family.  This year, I opted to make knit ornaments.  They were pretty quick to make.  It was fun to choose scraps of yarn to use.   Here's a not-so-great picture of them.  The patten is from Handknit Holidays Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Advent 7

Today my nephew opened a onesie with an applique tie.  I first made an applique tie using this template for my nephew last Christmas.  I love that it makes him seem dressed up when he's wearing something comfy.    Last year, I used the same material that I had used for his Christmas pants.  To make it look more like I tie, I cut it out on the bias.  I don't have any pictures of what I made this year, but he sure was cute last year!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent 5

Today my nephew will open a hat.  I think the snowflake will work after Christmas as well. The hat is made from yarn leftover from the hat I made him last year.

I think it will be fun to make him a new holiday hat every year. 

I bet JK will post about the cool ornament she made me.

Friday, December 3, 2010


My sweet sister JK from Eat Play Laugh Often made me the sweetest Advent calendar.  I'd seen it on her blog, but hadn't seen it in person until today.  I love it!  I'm so lucky!

She was smart, she chose a color scheme that doesn't scream Christmas, so I can use it year round.  Rather than attach the numbers to the pockets, she made number tags to attach to the gifts.  You'll have to check out her blog to see what I've opened this far. I don't think she'll be able to top gift number two.  I love it! 

Today my nephew opened up a Christmas tree onesie that I made him.  It is a recreation of the onesie I made him last year.  I thought he was cute in it last year. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finishing up non-Christmas projects

I noticed that I had several non holiday projects in various stages of completion taking up room on my sewing table.   I decided that I better finish them up now so there was some hope of them getting finished this year.

In late August or early September I started a bib following a mAde by autie tutorial.  It just needed the arms sewn shut and some velcro added to the back.  I'm not sure why I let that linger so long.

 Way back in October I heard that my generally not so fond of hats nephew loved wearing the Halloween costumer I made him including the hood. 
I decided that he needed another lion hat made with a fleece mane rather than a ribbon one so it would be machine washable.  He now seems to like all sorts of hats but I still think it's fun to have a costume-y hat for everyday wear.  The hat waited on my sewing table for weeks for me to sew in the lining and add the elastic.  Now it is done.  Yay! 

I also had some would be legwarmers waiting for me on my sewing table.  It seems to me that fleece legwarmers are a pretty good solution for the cold leg situation caused when pants pull up when little ones are carried.  Now the little guy can have warm legs when he's out and about.  To cut mine I cut a piece of fleece as wide as the circumference of my nephew's leg and just a bit longer (to allow for hemming) than the distance from his knee to his ankle.  I figured that because fleece is stretchy that they would stay up without need for any elastic.  It seems to work.

I have some other projects in need of finishing as well.  With some luck I will get them done tomorrow! What do you need to finish up?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PJs and Wrapping Gifts

I love the look of beautifully wrapped gifts.  Growing up we always saved gift wrap to reuse as long as possible.  Good quality wrapping paper has been known to last a long time in my family.  Last year we finally parted with some wrapping paper from the 80s!  I'm sure it wasn't used every year, but I find it quite impressive that it lasted that long!

In the last few years the piles of wrapping that need to be thrown away  have made me uncomfortable.  I really dislike the idea of waste.   I've been trying to come up with ways to make gift wrap that is reusable but is still festive.

I love to make little boxes out of cards or scrapbook paper.  I made a few today, but I'll hold off making any more so I can make them fit the gifts.

I like to make a few new drawstring bags to use as gift bags every year.   I made several today.   I might make a few more to live in the Christmas stockings to hold gifts after they come out of the stockings.  I'd like to avoid as much wear and tear on the knit stockings as possible.

I really love this Eco Christmas Gift Wrap tutorial.  It seems to me that it would be fun as a gift for pretend play as well.  I just had to try it out.  I'm pleased with the results.  I'll definitely make some more.

I finished some pj pants today.  I'm also sending off some pillowcases with them so I wrapped them up in pillowcases. 

How do you like to wrap your gifts?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ideas for filling Advent calendars for little ones

Advent calendars play a big part in my childhood Christmas memories. When my nephew was born last year I thought it would be fun to make his family an Advent calendar.  My childhood memories of Advent calendars are mostly of paper chain calendars with an activity listed inside.  I didn't think an experiential Advent calendar would be practical for a three month old so I decided to go with a pocket style Advent calendar and fill it with items for celebrating the holiday season.  Last year I followed the Advent calendar tutorial at Sew Mama Sew I loved it, but lots of my items were a bit too big for the pockets.  This year I made a over the door shoe holder style Advent calendar to give me a bit more room for my gifts.

Some of my ideas for filling an Advent calendar for a baby or toddler include

pieces of a child friendly nativity scene (spread out over multiple days)
soft toys made by sewing together Christmas symbols and stuffing them
holiday related board book
ball sewn from holiday fabrics
sippy cup leash  made with holiday ribbon
fabric ornaments
felt ornaments
stroller blanket made from festive material
socks - I like the idea of red socks because they are festive and can be worn any time
bib  - I love making washcloth bibs one in holiday colors would be fun
leg warmers
holiday hat
onesie or shirt with holiday applique
a holiday outfit
holiday pjs (a perfect Christmas Eve gift)

Because I did my Advent calendar as a gift to a family I made some days treats for the parents and included chocolates, gift tags, and ribbons.  What would you put in a family Advent calendar?  Do you have any favorite Advent traditions?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Pajamas

I love the idea of having new pajamas to wear on Christmas morning.  It makes for some fun pictures having festive pajamas.  I modified a costume pattern for these pjs.  I think they'll be nice and cozy.

Do you do new pajamas for Christmas?

Christmas Pillowcases

I'm making some kiddos in my life pajama pants for Christmas this year.  I decided that I would make Christmas pillowcases to wrap the pajamas.  It was my first try making the pillowcases.  I'll definitely make more.   I like the idea of a functional wrapping for gifts.

Advent Calendars

I love using Advent calendars to count down to Christmas.  We always had Advent calendars when I was growing  up.  When I went away to college my mother sent me a piece of Advent mail every day in December.  I loved knowing that there would be something special in my mail box for me.

Last year I made an Advent calendar from a tutorial shared on Sew Mama Sew.  It was a fun project.  I was quite pleased with the finished project.  When I started to fill the calendar, I realized that the pockets were too small to hold most of the items I had gathered.  I didn't want to choose smaller items because they were gifts for a baby.

This year rather than have an Advent calendar with a pile of gifts next to it, I decided to make one with bigger pockets.  I thought about modifying an over the door shoe holder, but I never found one locally that seemed like it would be perfect.  I decided  that I would look for something perfect until September.  I didn't find a pattern or shoe holder that I really liked, so I decided to try making something reminiscent of a shoe holder.

I think this was the most complicated thing I've ever made without a pattern or tutorial to follow.  It was great fun to see it take shape. I loved seeing it come together and getting a bit more confidence as each step was finished that it would be a functional calendar.  It looks like the pockets are a perfect size for gifts for toddlers.  I really like it!  I may decide to make another that allows for different sized pockets to allow for gifts of various sizes.  I like the idea of a pocket for pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Advent calendar before stuffing

Advent calendar full of toddler gifts

I decided to make pleated pockets so they could expand to hold thick gifts if need be.  I used printable fabric for the numbers.  I'm excited to see what it looks like in use!   

I'm excited to be almost done with Advent already.  Last year I was filling the calendar as December progressed.  This year I have 23 gifts wrapped and ready to go already.  Do you celebrate Advent?  If so, how do you celebrate?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Handmade Holiday Challenge

I like to keep the holidays handmade.  In the past I've left far too much crafting to the last minute.  Hopefully accepting this challenge will keep me from leaving to many projects until the last minute this year!  I'm almost done with my Advent gifts.  I'm excited that I already have 22 of them completed and wrapped.  Last year I was still making them in December.  Are you up for the Handmade Holiday Challenge

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Washcloth Bibs for Little Droolers Tutorial

Bibs may be necessary for babies in their constantly drooling stage, but that shouldn't mean that they have sacrifice style.  One of my favorite wear all day bibs is the washcloth bib. They are inexpensive, quick, and easy to make.

  • One washcloth - this will make two bibs 
  • A piece of bias tape about a foot long 
  • About an inch of velcro
  • Thread - I like it to match the bias tape 
  • General sewing supplies
I like to use washcloths without decorate borders.  When choosing a washcloth fold in half diagonally to  see if you like the way it looks.

Step 1 cut the washcloth in half diagonally

Step 2 fold washcloth in half so the finished edges are touching

Step 3 cut a slight curve - this helps improve the fit of the bib

Step 4 cut a piece of bias tape a bit longer than the cut edge of the washcloth

Step 5 pin the bias tape to the cut edge of the washcloth - taking care to fold under the bias tape at the beginning and end so there aren't any raw edges - if you have a preferred method of attaching bias tape use your preferred method.

Step 6 attach the bias tape - I use a wide zig zag stitch so I'm sure to catch the front and back at the same time

Step 7 Attach velcro  - I sew around the square of velcro and then sew an x to make sure it is really secure. Notice the placement of the velcro on square on the left top one on the right back

 Step 8 Round the edges of the velcro to get rid of any pointy edges

Enjoy the fact that your wee ones can be cute and dry! They're fun to make!  I'd love to see yours if you make any.  Please let me know if you run into any difficulties with this tutorial.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rag Quilt Letters

My favorite project this month has been making rag quilt letters following the tutorial from Happy Together.  It was a great way to get practice using the walking foot attachment for my sewing machine.  I used denim from worn out jeans and fabric remnants to back the letters.  I used fleece for the padding and quilting cotton for the top layer.  I quilted them fairly densely to ensure that they would be nice and firm.  I love the way they feel.  I look forward to making a set of lowercase letters and numbers someday soon.

I think they will be fun for a long time.  The recipient's momma has some great ideas of how to play with them.  It was a great project.  It allowed me to re-purpose things and use small amounts of materials that I love.  I'll definitely be making more!

Halloween Outfit

I made up a quick Halloween outfit for my favorite one-year-old today.  I've been thinking about making some fleece pants with contrasting cuffs.  Making Halloween pants seemed like the perfect way to try it out.  I figure a Halloween outfit is only likely to be worn once or twice anyway.  I used Halloween fabric that I bought last winter to make the tie for the onesie. I wish I'd bought more of it.  I love the typography.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Funky Monkey Quilt With New Binding

I had some problems with the binding on my Funky Monkey quilt on my first try.  I chopped it off and rebound the quilt using polka dot fabric.  I like it much better this way.  I love it when I like the aftermath of a mistake more than my original intentions.  What happy mistakes have you made lately?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge Day 4

Yesterday I spent my kids clothes crafting time finishing up a hat. 

I  needle felted over the embroidered snowflake to ensure that curious hands would not be able to pick the stitches off.  To ensure that the hat will stay on for more than a few seconds I added some i-cord ties. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge Days 2 & 3

I didn't stick to my to-do list.  I remembered a certain Gram's suggestion that her grandson have a pair of chambray pants with orange polka dot cuffs.  I thought the pants needed a onesie to go with them.  It took me two tries to figure out a way to make the cuffs work.  Perhaps I should have consulted a pattern. I also added a pocket to the back of the pants.  I hope the placement works.  I've never done that before either.  I like the touch of whimsy that it brings.

The picture shows the front view of the onesie and the back view of the pants.

I decided that the pants would be fun for a birthday outfit so I made a one onesie to match. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge Day 1

I've managed to cross two items off of my must sew list today.  I made up the three pairs of baby pants that I cut out but didn't get to this summer.  

The top pair of pants are made from some linen rayon blend that I found in the remnant bin.  I was very tempted to do the top stitching in orange to add some detail, but resisted.   The pants on the left are made from a bandanna and lined with flannel.  They're actually reversible, but I doubt the flannel will ever be worn on the outside.  The pants on the right are also made from a bandanna.  They're unlined so it took mere minutes to sew them up.  I love using bandannas for baby pants.  Using the finished edge for the hem makes for a quick project. 

I also made up a Thanksgiving themed outfit for my favorite little guy.  

Another simple pair of pants this time from some homespun fabric with a onesie with a matching tie.  I cut the fabric for the tie on the bias to add some interest.  

I wonder what it says about me that I chose the bottom two items from my must sew list.   

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Kids Clothes Week Challenge

I just signed up for the The Kids Clothes Week Challenge at Elsie Marley.  I'm hoping that it will get me motivated to get some projects that have been languishing undone.  I seem to have more ideas that time to implement them most of the time.  It doesn't stop me from wanting to start even more projects though.


    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Funky Monkey Quilt

    Last winter I stumbled across the Funky Monkey quilt pattern. I decided at pretty much first glance that I wanted to make it.  My sister likes sock monkeys so it seemed like it would be a good fit for a quilt for my nephew.  I think the quilt might have been designed to be a wall hanging (it is meant to be 26" x 30").  I decided to make it bigger because I wanted it to be a functional quilt so I enlarged the quilt a bit.   I like the Moda fabrics that the quilt was designed for, but they weren't available locally.  I wanted to be able to buy the fabric locally so I decided to play with texture a bit.  The applique is all made from flannel and the backgrounds are made from quilting cottons. At first, I was disappointed that I couldn't find fabric that mimics the look of a sock monkey, but I really like how the flannel feels.  It was lots of fun to see the quilt take shape as I added the applique pieces.  I quilted in the ditch and around the appliqued pieces because I didn't want to obscure the sock monkey at all.  I was worried that the batting might shift too much with so little quilting so I added some quilting lines radiating out from the monkey.  I found a fun monkey print flannel for the back of the quilt. I really like the orange and turquoise color combination.  I'm glad I went with fabric that I could buy locally.

    Making Things for Kiddos

    I've always liked making things for kiddos.  I often joke that I like to make things for kids because they are cute and move fast so it is hard to notice any imperfections in the things I make.  There are lots of reasons that I like to make things for kiddos. The main reason that I like to make things for kiddos is that it gives me a chance to play.  What about you?  Do you like to craft for adults or children?