For Valentine’s Day I made Isaac the little elephant he’s been requesting. Since Christmas he knew he was going to name it Cherry Larry. First Cherry Larry was going to be black, then yellow, then finally he decided on (what reminds me of) a Delirium Tremens pink elephant. With cherries.
And a flower.
Foxy Loxy and Cherry Larry are best friends. Both of them were made using the Heather Bailey elephant pattern.
They’re quite sturdy. They have already survived a few fights.
November and December were extra busy for us, making Christmas gifts and cookies and decorating in between bouts of cold and flu. This weekend we just finished packing away the Christmas decorations and downloading photos from the camera. I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from Christmas.
I started an advent calendar for Isaac, but for this past Christmas it was just a small holiday garland. I made 14 mittens in total, so I just need 10 more for an advent calendar for next Christmas. The pattern is Smitten. I used assorted wool yarn leftovers and US3 needles. I love it! I plan to fill each mitten with a little craft project or holiday activity.
I also made matching pajamas for the kids. Isaac’s are Oliver + S Sleepover Pajamas in size 3T + 1 inch in length and Ethan’s are Reversible Baby Pants in the 6 month size from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings. I’ve made both patterns so many times I barely look at the instructions any more.
My favorite gift is this little elephant. It’s a Heather Bailey pattern that Isaac and I made together. Isaac said he wanted to give Ethan a soft elephant for Christmas, just like one I made for Isaac’s friend years ago. Isaac picked out the fabric, I sewed it and he stuffed it. Isaac was so proud that he could help make something for his brother. While Isaac was stuffing the elephant, I asked him what he wanted to name it. He thought really hard. “Umm… … …Foxy!” You got it! “And next I want to make a black and red elephant for me and name him Cherry!” Ok… I guess we’ll be making another elephant early this year. Isaac is not forgetting about the elephants. He now calls Ethan’s “Foxy Loxy” and his will be “Cherry Larry.”
This time around I used glue-basting for the elephant, which made the process faster, more accurate and meant a whole lot less seam-ripping. Win!
I’ve been working on a new pattern, and it’s finally ready to share! It’s a set of paper piecing templates for 14 different bottles and jars, and 15 different labels. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of a pattern – you can mix and match the labels and containers, or make containers without labels. My favorite block I’ve made so far is the little red jar of cherry pie filling.
A close runner-up for favorite is the little blue jelly jar.
The little round spice jar is the smallest block, measuring just 2″ x 2″. I’ve been slowly gathering more text prints, to make cute labels like the one on the right.
The milk bottle is the largest block, measuring 4″ x 7 7/8″. The tulip jar on the right is modeled after the Weck canning jars that are so popular now.
I used the blocks to create a table runner, 12″ x 40″. I used straight-line quilting, spacing the lines using the edge of my walking foot.
This was such a fun pattern to make – drawing all the different jars and labels was quite addictive. I want to turn everything into a paper piecing pattern now!
You can find the Pantry Staples pattern for sale at Craftsy and Etsy.
The fall Kids Clothes Week was a two weeks ago. I had intended to finish a bunch of garments for both kiddos but I managed to finish only one simple shirt, another Simplicity 2907.
This one is size 4T with an extra inch of length. I used snaps instead of buttons this time. It took me 4x longer to find the snaps and snapsetter than it did to install the snaps – I love snaps!
I used to love candy corn. I would eat multiple bags of candy corn during the month of October. In the last few years I have lost some of my sweet tooth, and now I have a more common reaction to candy corn – just thinking about it makes my teeth hurt.
I still like the idea of candy corn, and I try a few pieces every year. And I love Halloween. This year I’m not making any elaborate Halloween costumes (Isaac wants to be Spiderman, available at Target for $14.99), so I’ve been working on a couple other Halloween projects. The first I finished is a candy corn hat for Ethan.
I used Woolly Wormhead’s Rocketeer pattern, with size US7 needles and Cascade 220 yarn. I worked the pattern for a 16″ head circumference, making 2 extra short rows in each section. He has a 15″ head now, and this fits perfectly. To used intarsia to make the candy corn colors. 10 stitches are yellow, 14 are orange and 10 are white.
The second project I finished is a set of trivets with some Halloween fabric scraps (including a candy corn print!) that I’ve had in my stash for years. The pattern is from the book Patchwork, Please! It’s a paper-piecing pattern and it worked out just perfect for using up the little scraps of fabric I had. I want to try this pattern again with fussy-cut prints in the center.
I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! Don’t eat too much candy corn
I find myself toting a lot of baby stuff around lately. I try to be a minimalist, but babies seem to need so many things. I made a divided basket (pattern from Noodlehead here) to hold all of Ethan’s diaper changing supplies.
Not only does it corral all the diapers, wipes, creams, etc in one place, but it lets me tote everything around with one hand. This is so convenient. We spend most of the day on the ground floor and Ethan sleeps in our second floor bedroom at night, so we have two different diaper changing areas. Instead of maintaining separate stacks of wipes and diapers in each changing area, I just bring the basket upstairs and downstairs with me. There’s room in the basket to throw an extra outfit and swaddle in for nights, too. I’m so glad I made this!
These adorable kimonos are from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing book. They are so quick! And also so teeny! Here’s Ethan in a kimono a few weeks ago, when he was around 8 lbs. The kimono fit him with a couple inches of positive ease.
Here’s Ethan in a kimono now, when he’s 10.5 lbs and working on growing a second chin. He won’t be wearing these kimonos for much longer!
Even though they don’t fit for long, these kimonos are well worth the effort. They took me less than an hour to make, and I think they are really easy to put on babies – there are no tight sleeves or cuffs for tiny fingers to get stuck in.
…we all scream for ice cream!
Isaac is thrilled that he and his brother have matching shirts. I think he’ll realize soon that matching shirts are just a ploy to get him to wear a handmade shirt (with buttons and a collar, and without superheros), and then he’ll be mad at me. But for as long as it lasts I’ll be taking advantage of the fact that he wants to match his little brother.
I made another Simplicity 2907 shirt for big brother, size 4T. He is turning 4 soon and this shirt is perfect width-wise but I think I’ll add an inch or more of length in the next shirt. Little brother’s shirt is just a bit of applique with satin stitch around the edges. The fabric is an old Riley Blake print that I’ve had in my stash for a while.
You can’t see it in these pictures, but these are the best buttonholes I have ever made. Up until now I’ve used the basic Bernina #3 buttonhole foot, which lets you make buttonholes but it does not make great button holes. The buttonholes looked handmade, and not in a good way. Then I bought buttonhole foot with a slide, like this one but without the spring or the brand name, and with a $7 price tag. Holy smokes! It is amazing. My buttonholes look 600% better than before. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities!
One of the very first things I remember sewing, with the help of my grandma, is a drawstring shoe bag for my dad for Father’s Day. I remember being so happy to sew with my grandma, and I was so incredibly proud of it when it was done. I remember my dad using it a lot when he traveled.
The bag wasn’t fancy, I think it was a vellux-like material that wouldn’t fray with a shoestring for a drawstring. I’ve been meaning to make a couple drawstring shoe bags for myself and my husband for a long time – they are much classier than packing your shoes in a plastic grocery bag!
I was motivated to finally make another bag when I saw this fantastic drawstring shoe bag tutorial by The Purl Bee. The construction is really clever – there are no exposed raw edges!
Isaac picked out the fabric and drawstring, and he even helped sew a few of the seams. He’s probably too young to remember doing this later, but he was happy to help and very happy to have made something for Dad. He was so anxious to show Dad his present that he gave it to him Saturday night!
We used a plain chambray rather than a fancy double-sided plaid because I wanted to embroider the bag with a design from the Sublime Stitching Camp Out embroidery pattern.
I used the “away knot” instructions from Penguin and Fish to keep the ends of the embroidery floss in place. So far, so good! The back looks very neat and it doesn’t look like the ends are going anywhere.
Last weekend we took our (very early) summer vacation. The week before we left I made Isaac a little dopp kit to hold his toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. He choose the fabric and zipper: a Japanese linen blend for the outside and a large parka zipper. I chose coordinating fabrics and the pattern – the Zipper Pencil Case from Craft Passion.
I made a couple modifications, eliminating the tapering at the top of the bag and making only one gusset. Although the pattern is originally intended to be a pencil case, with the wider top it’s the perfect size for toddler toiletries. Having one gusset keeps one side secure while giving you room to rummage around on the other side. With two gussets the bag wouldn’t open nearly as wide.
Although I’m getting better at adding piping, I’m still not great and the seams each took a few attempts. It’s worth it though – the bag wouldn’t look nearly as nice without piping. Despite some fussing with the piping this bag only took an afternoon to make. I highly recommend it!
I used one layer of batting and two layers of medium-weight interfacing for everything except the gusset. If I make this again, I would use heavy weight interfacing so the bag holds its shape better. The parka zipper worked out great – easy for little hands to open and close.