Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Doll Sling for James

Just as with a real baby, a sling is a must for carrying around your doll.

I had to (really, I just had to!) make James the sling after we went to the library and he wanted to take his doll, but all he had for carrying was the Moses basket bed. So he lugged that thing around with his doll and two blankets draping out of it.

I have to say, either way, there are few things more satisfying in life than watching your child play with a (and love) toy you made them. So sweet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wishing You Yuletide Cheer

Here's the doll I made for my niece, all dressed now. She wishes you all a happy holiday, good company and much cheer. We celebrated the Solstice on Sunday with a feast- lots of family, tasty food and presents. Santa came that night and brought a few more goodies. I can't wait to show you all the dolls I made for James and Leland. These dolls are fun! We're taking it easy this week, visiting with friends and family- and watching it snow and snow and snow! Best wishes to you and yours!
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yule Tradtions and Naked Dolls

No- naked dolls are not the Yule tradition I wanted to show off. I'm working diligently to clothe them. Here's the doll I made for my niece keeping watch while I sew her dress. It will be done tomorrow even if I'm falling asleep in my Figgy Pudding (which IS one of our Yule Traditions.) After I get her dress done I just have to sew clothing for James' doll and I'm done- whew, just in the nick of time. Next year I am starting earlier, I swear. I'm sure I've said that every year, maybe I could predate a blog post that says "GET TO WORK ON HOLIDAY GIFTS!"anyway...


What I wanted to show off is the ornament I made for Michael. One of our holiday traditions that we started when we first got married is to make each other an ornament each year.

In April of this year we got five hens (ha! or so we thought.)As it turned out one was a rooster. As it also turned out our big black menace...err dog found chickens running around in the yard sufficient motivation to push open our screen door. So just when we were asking ourselves what we should do about the rooster- she took care of it. I learned how to pluck and butcher poultry and the resulting meal was quite tasty and well earned and this is the wishbone from the rooster with "wish" embroidered behind it. Yes it's a little odd. I think it'll make us laugh when we pull it our years from now.

OK, the doll is getting impatient. She's just staring at me. I better go finish up.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sling Instructions- Done!

I've finally finished writing out my instruction sheet for the ring-slings I've been selling. Having no instruction sheet to give out has really held me back on even wanting to sell any slings, but now finally they are DONE. Whew. One thing off my plate. Still yet to be accomplished- finish sewing gifts for Solstice.


I'm feeling a little discombobulated with the holidays approaching. I have a custom apron order to sew, dolls to finish for the kids and no decorations up yet. My husband moved his office into the back of our house a couple weeks ago and that's just been a bit odd. We're working out the kinks still. Leland is getting in molars and just screams at anything that doesn't go his way, and being that his way is the fickle way of an 18 month old, screaming happens a lot. As my grandmother would say- good thing he's cute.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Making the Holidays Meaningful

We're really focusing on cutting the stress and enjoying our family this year for the holidays. The gifts we're giving are simple, handmade things like cards or baked items. We decided to make our own little family the priority then look outward. This way the neat things I've wanted to make for my husband and kids or the fun activities we want to do don't get buried at the bottom of the list. So my kids are getting mama made dolls and my husband can read, and just might read this blog, so he doesn't get to know what he's getting. A link to a really great guide that talks about avoiding the Holiday Hype came in my email today, and I thought I'd share it: Commercial Free Childhood's Holiday Guide

There's also a section on their website with lots of fun and creative ideas for Gifts in a Shoebox that you can put together possibly with things you already have. I'm thinking for my niece I'll make a shoebox kit of the Paper Dolls that James and I had so much fun decorating.

We started things off yesterday with an advent calendar- I was going to get complicated, but instead I took out the calendar that I forgot about last year and wrote little activities on the back of each flap, so when they open the flap it says things like "pancakes for breakfast" or,"make cookies."

We also swapped family advent calendars with my siblings and my mom, but I'll post about that later.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Raisin Pie Update

Well- the pie below? Wrong pie. It wasn't the one my mom ate growing up. It tasted alright, even though it was very unattractive and we didn't even serve it at dinner (not like we were lacking in the dessert category anyhow.) The good news here is that when I got home, I looked at the recipe I had from my grandmother (I'd forgotten it here) and even though the one I found online looked similar, they're not the same. So I may yet be able to recreate this family favorite. For the moment though, we're rather satiated as far as pie goes so I think I'll wait a bit on that experiment. I'd post a picture of the pie I did make, but my camera's gone a little bit missing in all the Hoopla.
ETA- found the camera:

Oh- I've also decided that I just don't like that vodka pie crust recipe. I'll stick with the Cooks Illustrated (other) best pie crust instead.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

My mother has often told me about a raisin pie that she and my grandfather loved. The other night I was at my grandmother's for dinner and asked her if she thought she still had the recipe- and she did. We dug through her recipe box and eventually found a little slip of carboard from the back of a SunMaid Raisin box with a recipe for Sour Cream Raisin Pie. So I'm baking this today for Thanksgiving!
I hope it turns out well enough to evoke the memory of the pies my grandmother used to bake. I'm at my mother's and forgot my usual pie crust recipe at home so I did a search online. I like to use the best pie crust recipe from Cooks Illustrated, which I did find a version of HERE but I also have tried their recipe with Vodka in it a couple times. I'm not totally sold on it (the dough is really soft, thus sticky), but it's so interesting that I have to try one more time to see if I like it or see if I for certain DON'T like it. I'll chill it for longer than I have in the past I think... I'll let you know how the pie comes out!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Button-down Shirt Sleeve Pants

Leland's got some new pants made from Papa's old shirt. I made these just like you'd make pants from a sweater, though of course, with cotton shirts there's no felting involved. Leland wears about 18 mos. clothing and I don't think you'd be able to make these much bigger than that. Well, nevermind- with MY husband's shirts I couldn't make them much bigger.I'm thinking these would be cute with a pocket on the side- maybe from the shirt front?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Really Easy Applique

About a year ago I read instructions on Melissa Haworth's Blog, Under Construction, about how to applique by sewing your applique piece onto iron on interfacing. Though I left an enthusiastic comment I still didn't get around to actually trying it out until recently while decorating some bibs. When I wrote Melissa to tell her I'd finally used the idea, she told me that her new favorite way of doing applique is to just sew the piece onto another piece of that fabric, then stick it onto whatever she's decorating with a bit of wonder under if she wants to stick it on. This has become my favorite way of making little decorative patches (though I have yet to use the wonder under tip. I think that'd be quite helpful for hand applique though.) Here are my own little instructions.

James wanted to get in on all the sewing I've been doing and dug through my scraps to find this cowboy. He told me he wanted it on his stripey shirt so I created this little tutorial in case you'd like an easy way to add a bit of decoration to...anything fabric.

  • Cut out your image- this can be much rougher than I did in the picture.
  • Choose a fabric for the backing- interfacing works, a piece of the same fabric, or for this one I just chose a scrap of black fabric.
  • Right side to right side, sew all the way around your image. All the way, closing the gap.

  • Cut out right next to your sewing line. I find using pinking shears carefully works very well.
  • Cut a slit in the back fabric that you will turn the piece through.
  • Turn your piece inside out and use a finger or bonefolder to press out the seam.

  • Iron.

  • Sew onto intended item. You can hand applique, top-stitch or use your machine's applique stitch. Some patches look really cute when sewn on with a decorative stitch.
  • My model was none too cooperative. He's trying, in this picture, to hide the cowboy and take the camera from me, but it's the best one I got.

Another blog tutorial that was helpful is on Stitch Rip Repeat.
Thank you Melissa and Beth!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Could This Be Our Daily Bread?

Last month Stefani at Blue Yonder wrote about her family's, "Daily Bread." Thank you Stefani! The recipe she posted sounded simple and tasty and I love the idea of making our own bread, but also find it somewhat intimidating. So we tried it out the other night and I'm hooked!

The boys helped out of course- though when took the dough out of the Cuisinart to knead it some by hand, neither of them were interested in touching it. We live at 7000 feet so I'm never sure how well baked goods will do, but this came out great. The only adjustment I made was to cut down the rising time the second rise. Oh, actually I substituted brown rice syrup for honey since I was out of honey. Oh, uh, I also took it out of the oven a bit early because we were HUNGRY. So this is a forgiving recipe! Next time I will let it bake longer though to get a nice crust.

After trying this recipe I got all brave and made rolls the next night. I think I could be into this homemade bread. We'll make Blue Yonder's Daily Bread again today. I may have to slow down (but not really just yet)- all this tasty bread drastically increases butter consumption!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Test Shots- Product Photos

Aack! Last night I spent some time trying to get a few decent photos of things for my shop, but no. They came out all wrong. The first one- well that apron not actually 'on' someone just looks like road kill. No good. I'll have to get my sister over here and take pictures of the aprons on her.

This bib with the harsh shadow I don't like and I think I need it to be really easy to take the pictures, so probably just laying things down, not hanging them.

Which is what I did here, (not that I expected to like the look of my carpet in the photo.) I'm thinking though, with the intensity of the flash on my little digital camers, I'll have to take the pictures during daylight in a well lit place so the flash isn't necessary. It just is too bright and ruins the color. Gee, that sounds doofus-ly obvious when typed out.

Oh well, here's to getting pictures taken today and actually listing things!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Paper Doll Papas

This is SO much fun to do with the small person of your choice. James chose "Special Art Time With Mama" as a reward he could earn recently and yesterday he cashed in his certificate while Leland napped. To make it special I made up a basket of supplies and brought them into his bedroom at his little table and cut out these dolls we could decorate, figuring I'd give them as an idea and then let him take the lead. It was great. I just dove in and started drawing faces and he grabbed his own and got to work.

What was most fun is was hearing him tell stories about them. His were "all Papas." One of them didn't like clothes, one liked hats and one wanted a face. Once he had a face he started demanding food and we had to make him a plate! He was so excited that I'd made them hold hands and wanted to know how I'd managed that, and then he wanted to know all about my dolls, and eventually took to helping me dress them too. After maybe 20 minutes he said, "Ok, Mama, I'm done!" and then helped clean up. We will be doing this again for sure. I left all the doll supplies together so we can grab them easily. Whether you have paper or fabric you've got to try this sometime. You never know what those Papa dolls will be up to!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vintage Fabric Bias Tape

Ooh- I'm just loving this bias tape I'm making. I'm just using the Clover Bias Tape Maker (which I only got recently, and it's so much easier to make this now). The red fabric came from an antique shop in Oregon and the light green is from a friends attic. I can' wait to see it sewn up on an apron. I think this tape looks so cute, I'm thinking of making up a few yards to sell. It's the sort of thing I'd like to find. I wonder what other seamstresses think... Maybe I'll check out what other homemade bias tape goes for on Etsy.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caledar Cover in Progress

I'm working on a little calendar cover that can hold a calendar, a pen and a note pad for lists.
This is what I've got so far- it holds a 3x5 note pad on the right and on the left flips open to a small calendar.

Then it folds up with a flip, flip.

I was going to make it a button closure like the crayon wallets, but since it would probably be in and out of purses or pockets I think instead I'll just make a longer elastic loop that can loop around the entire thing to hold it closed. I've got to futz with the length of the fabric a bit too to make it right.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coloring Wallets

In a couple weeks my husband is moving his office into our house and the whole place has been in one big upheaval. Of course this is happening right while I'm trying to get ready for this craft fair, but oh well. Luckily my mom is making some stuff for the booth too. Also, I'm so glad I found his pattern for a coloring wallet from JC handmade.

She sells the PDF pattern in her Etsy site and it's easy to follow. These are fun to put together, she allows for you to sell what you make and my son loves his (the one shown below). Last time we went to the grocery store he told me- Don't worry mama, I have my check book! as he carried his coloring wallet to the car.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Studio Shot

Sitting in my comfy chair, about to put Halloween pictures on the computer I looked across the room and liked the little collection of thread and other flotsam on top of my drawers on my sewing table.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Elephants Make Everything Taste Better

Below is one of our favorite snacks- quesadilla with cookie cutters on the side in order to make animal and leaf shapes, and sometimes letters. Elephant shapes are a firm favorite and will turn nearly anything cookie-cuttable into something that will at least be tasted, and often enjoyed, when otherwise the food would have been refused.

At Jamies birthday (this was back in April, but we just pulled up the pictures again and he's STILL delighted with the elephant strawberries) I made a strawberry cake and cut little elephants out of sliced strawberries. He informed me that he wants this same decoration next year. Maybe I'll go with that, but NOT the cake I made this last year. Uck- that was terrible. I am not one who usuallly has baking flops, but this was strawberry yuck, not strawberry cake. At any rate James liked it and was thrilled witht the elephants. Much like ketchup, elephants just make everything taste better.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art on the Walls

Sometimes coloring is more interesting when done in a new way, like with paper taped to the walls.

I visited a house once where the bottom half of the kids room was papered with news print so they had bedroom had walls that could be drawn on. I thought that was great, but there isn't space in the boys room. I think we'll do this again though, for what ever reason I hadn't thought before to just tape up the paper just for the art session.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Welcome Scott Jeremiah!

Here's my brother with his new son

Waiting to hear more details. For now, Hooray!!!

Baking While Waiting for Baby

My niece is here tonight because her mama (my brothers wife) is having a baby! We don't know if she'll have a new brother or a new sister. Well, I don't think Elizabeth's quite aware that's she'll have a new anything, but I'm sure excited. We baked mini pizzas for a fun dinner. The kids helped put on the toppings (while also helping themselves to generous handfuls of grated cheese.)

After they were cooked I think Leland is the only one who actually ate more than the toppings.

For James and Elizabeth I might as well have just left them little piles of cheese and pepperoni to eat. Oh well.

They were tasty (just italian bread with left over marinara pepperonis and bell peppers), and a fun way to pass some time this evening. Now all the kids are asleep. I just know I'm going to be waking up all night hoping for a text on my phone about the baby. !!!

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A Tail of Cuddle Kitty

**Note- If you 'd like to make your very own Cuddle Kitty you can find a tutorial HERE. My Sister-In-Law made CK for James last Christmas.

Last month, when we went to Oregon, we accidentally LEFT Cuddle Kitty at Grammy's house. Oh no! We hemmed and hawed at bed time for a couple nights and then told James the sad truth. Luckily, by that time, we had established CK's whereabouts and knew Grammy would be sending her home. Naturally James was concerned, seeing as how "Post men don't like to have animals in their trucks!" I reassured him that Cuddle Kitty would be traveling in, "a kitty carrier box." (AKA a shoe box....)

He asked me to draw him some pictures about what would be happening. So I drew them on the calendar showing when she'd be arriving.

Then we waited...
And waited...
And waited...

Finally the day came (three days is a pretty long time for a three year old) that Cuddle Kitty came home! She was better than ever! Grammy had even given her a new tail to replace the one that had fallen off!

James showed off her new tail for the camera.

He took Cuddle Kitty to the calendar and showed her the pictures of her journey. He wanted me to go back and draw in her new tail on all of the pictures.

Having Cuddle Kitty home was so nice he just wanted to take a nap with her, and they snuggled into bed.

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