Friday, January 16, 2015

Felted wool baby shoes

felted shoes

OK, OK, I didn't think I would do it, but I did! I'm giving baby shoes a shot. It is so hard to find classic, sweet shoes for little girls that don't involve pink, cartoon characters, and glitter. Rosamund is outgrowing her winter shoes (hand-me-downs from Lavinia) and the next sizes in girls' winter shoes that I have just aren't working for her. She is just on the verge of toddling so I want to continue to put her in soft-soled shoes, the better to walk on her own.

These are a "dipping my feet in" version of the free pattern available at Darling Diapers (brought to my attention by Shannon, who has already made and shared several pairs of adorable leather shoes on her blog! Thanks for the inspiration, Shannon!) These ones are made of felted wool, with leather (wrong-side-out, for texture) on the bottom. I sewed the wool parts on my sewing machine, but I don't have any leather needles for my machine (yet -- they're on their way, thanks to Amazon Prime) so I hand-stitched the uppers and soles together. Let's just say my hand-stitching could use a great deal of practice.

I made the 12-18 month size, but they are a tad snug on my almost-one-year-old, so for my next version, I will size up. These practice ones are not very feminine so I am mulling over some ways to "pretty" them up while still sticking with neutral colors.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mei tai in action

I find I am using baby carriers more and more with each successive child -- it becomes more necessary to have hands free when you've got other children to care for. I've actually tried three different "traditional" baby carrier styles over the years -- a ring sling, a mei tai, and a moby wrap. They each have their pros and cons but the one I've ended up using the most is the mei tai, made from Sew Liberated's mei tai baby carrier pattern. I haven't used my sling since Edmund was a baby, because the uneven weight distribution just tends to make my neck and shoulder ache. My sister-in-law lent me her moby wrap when Lavinia was born, and even though it's the most complicated to get on, it's my favorite for the newborn stage because of the great head support. However, when my babies get old enough to hold up their heads on their own, I favor the mei tai because it's easier and faster to put on than the moby.

Mei tai

This is a typical scene you'll find around our house on any given morning -- Rosie riding on my back in the mei tai while I'm doing housework. She is not-so-content to play on her own while I'm busy, but she's very content to hang out back there while I do dishes. I also frequently use the mei tai when I'm out and about. I almost always wear Rosie in the front when I'm grocery shopping, which leaves one kid in the cart and one kid walking beside me (or both kids strapped into one of those ridiculous, un-maneuverable two-child carts at places like Walmart or Target -- why they like to ride in there, I have no idea).

Mei tai
[I do have to put my hair in a stylin' side pony because Rosie LOVES to pull it otherwise!]

So anyway, about the pattern. I made it a long time ago, when I was pregnant with Lavinia, but here's what I can recall: first off, I managed to make it out of 45" wide home d├ęcor fabric, and less than what the pattern calls for. I think I did this by rotating the layout of the straps 90 degrees. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what I did, but just a head's up that you don't have to go with what's recommended in the pattern -- play around with the layout and see what you can come up with. Also, you could totally omit the patch pocket on the front of the mei tai. I never use it; it's just not handy.

All in all, I'm happy with my carrier and it's held up well after nearly three years of use (although the fabric has faded quite a bit).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hen's "Banbury Cross" cardigan

I wanted to share with you all a really sweet version of the Banbury Cross cardigan pattern that a customer recently sent me! Isn't the houndstooth the cutest? Well done, Hen!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Heraldic bunting for Sir Edmund

Heraldic Bunting

One of the two handmade gifts I made for Christmas this year was this heraldic bunting for Edmund's room. I haven't done a whole lot to decorate his room for him yet, but I liked the idea of going with a "knights and dragons" theme. When I put up Lavinia's bunting in her room, he was a bit wistful and wished he could have some more "decorations" in his room, too. I think he's pleased to have this!

Heraldic Bunting

Each little flag was a fun challenge to figure out. I bought 1/2 yard of various bright colors of cotton at Walmart and then just let my imagination go with piecing the designs. I did put in St. George's Cross because Edmund really likes the beautifully-illustrated book Saint George and the Dragon. The black and red diamond flag was the most time-consuming. I had a bit of fun with the ermine/black flag, because I've never printed on fabric before! I found an image of an ermine pattern online, fixed it up a bit in Photoshop, then printed it onto some white cotton that had been ironed onto freezer paper to stiffen it. It worked beautifully.


Edmund also had fun contributing to the new theme!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January is for hibernating

Jersey lounge pants

My first completed sewing project of 2015 are these jersey knit lounge/pajama pants! Influenced by the late, great "Victoria" magazine, I tend to imagine January as a time for staying indoors... lounging with a cup of tea... looking out at the snow... dreaming of future plans... Hopefully I can catch a few moments to do a bit of "hibernating" in these pants!

I used an old pair of pajama bottoms that were falling apart to make a new pattern, at least for the legs. My old PJs had a more elaborate waistband, but I just wanted something easy and comfortable so I made a foldover yoga waistband. Somehow, as I was making the pattern pieces, the back of the pants ended up too short, so I left these unhemmed so they'd be long enough (you can do that with knits since they don't unravel). Usually I like my garments to be nicely finished, but since these pants are for home, the raw hem doesn't bother me. :)

Jersey lounge pants

I bought this jersey knit several years ago at Denver Fabrics and it's been residing in my stash ever since. I never had a clear plan of what to do with it, but I think pajama pants are a perfect answer! The print is so pretty and feminine, perfect for lounging at home.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And a happy Christmas!

Christmas 2014

This year I set aside one day, the 23rd, for our family Christmas at home, and it was really one of the most fun Christmas celebrations that I can remember. Douglas and I have alternated spending Christmases with his family or mine every year since we were married, which has been wonderful. But as more children have been added unto us, I've craved a bit of time for our own family traditions, and togetherness with our own little family of five. Last year, after Christmas was over, I decided that this year I would just set aside a day to be our family Christmas, and I think it worked out nicely. We still had plenty of time to enjoy with my family and Douglas', but it was special to have time just to ourselves, too.

Christmas 2014

We woke up to a gentle snowfall, which was a simply lovely blessing on the day. We had a leisurely morning of opening stockings and gifts, and then a brunch of scrambled eggs and sausage patties. The kids enjoyed their toys and we cleaned up all the wrappings after eating, then put the youngest two children down for a nap while Edmund was permitted to continue playing with his new things. This was the first year he really wanted a specific toy. He had seen someone played with a radio-controlled helicopter while on a walk this summer, and he remembered that and kept talking about "an airplane that can go on its own." Well, thanks to my parents, his wish came true -- Mom found an inexpensive helicopter on Amazon. We were pretty sure it wouldn't last long in the hands of a five-year-old (it's recommended for ages 14+), and we were right -- but he had such fun playing with it while it lasted!

Christmas 2014

After naps, we went for a cold walk in the wild (or as close to it as we can get around here), then came home to a dinner of cheese fondue. I have not made that in such a long time, and I wasn't sure if the kids would like the more "grown-up" tasting cheese, but they did! I had planned on serving eggnog for the kids and mulled wine for me and Douglas, but I was so tired I ended up falling asleep at 7:30pm. Thankfully, Douglas put the little ones to bed, so we were all able to get some much-needed rest after a happy day of celebration.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. - I John 1:5