December 29, 2010

All Those Christmas Cards

I LOVE traditional Christmas cards. Isn't it so fun to receive so many beautiful cards during the month of December? I very much anticipate the mail's arrival in December just to see who I'm going to hear from. There's just something special about receiving updates in an old-fashioned way from those you love.

In the back of my mind I've hoped to find a way to display all of the cards, but I hadn't settled on anything until this year.

I ran across this project on a blog I've really been enjoying recently, delia creates. She got the idea for the wreath here. It's such a simple idea - only requiring a piece of cardboard, x-acto knife, wrapping paper, tape, clothes pins, hot glue and ribbon.

I whipped it together one evening in about an hour while enjoying a movie. It's so easy and so cute.

December 28, 2010

Jammies for Jude

Each Christmas one of my favorite family traditions was receiving a new pair of jammies to wear the night of Christmas Eve. My mom is quite the seamstress and she would sew all of us a new pair every year. Often times we got to go to the fabric store with her and pick out our fabric and design. We waited with anticipation to see what she created.

I've decided to carry on the tradition at our little house. So, this year, for his first Christmas, Jude received his first pair of homemade jammies.

I made a onesie and a pair of pants, which I felt was the easiest way to avoid a one-piece that either zips or snaps all the way down the front. Too complicated.

I scored at Walmart recently and bought a couple of bolts of fabric for only $5/bolt. Did anyone else score in this deal too? So exciting. Anyway, the red knit is kind of vintage-y, soft and perfect for a long john look. It was a challenge to sew with, but as I struggled with it I kept telling myself it was "good practice". Which, it was. I ended up making two onesies and two pairs of pants until I could get the right fit all the way around.
I used my onesie pattern that I drafted. I also used this pants pattern, which I've used several times before. To add to the long johns look I added cuffs to both the sleeves and legs. Again, these additions were a bit of a challenge, but worth it in the end.

When it was completed I drew the little trees and freezer painted those to the front. I have to say my little guy sports the jammies well, although you might not be able to trust me on that. In this case I'm not only a biased mother but also the biased sewer. The main thing I guess is that I really enjoyed starting this tradition with him. I'm already looking forward to next year.

November 28, 2010

Christmas for Three

Yes, it's true. We've gone from Halloween to Christmas at this space in a matter of 4 days! Time flies, I'm telling you.

Well, Christmas is going to be a little different around here this year because we've added this little cutie to the mix. I'm looking forward to it!

By the way, did you notice he's wearing the hat my cousin knitted for him? Isn't it the cutest? I can't get enough of it. Or him, let's be honest.

My first order of business (before the real Holiday craziness begins) was to make sure Jude had his own Christmas stocking. And, while I was at it I made four! Oh my. No, I'm not exactly trying to estimate the number of our future children. I just thought that as long as I still had some of the fabric on hand I better make a whole lot so I "should" not have to make another set until I'm totally and completely sick of this one. Right? Right.

I made two each of these style (yes, they're a little different . . . look closely):
I couldn't bring myself to photograph all four. It made me appear crazy even though in my head I can justify that I'm not. Is this how I live my life? Yes, I'm afraid so. Hiding the craziness.

I made these two red stockings for Jesse and me back in 2007. I used the McCall's 3777 pattern. If you link to the pattern you'll notice that it looks a little dorky because of the fabric they used (I don't know who decides those things!), but I liked the shape of the stockings. So, I went with it. I tweaked with the top a bit until I liked it.

That year I also made a tree skirt. I was hoping they would all correlate without being too matchy. I think I did it. I'm happy with the way they turned out and I love pulling them out of the Christmas boxes each year. That's a good sign.

And, here are our stockings all lined up and ready. One for each us plus Scout.

Three cheers for holiday sewing! I love it.

November 27, 2010

Birthday Girls

My little nieces, Reagan & Peyton, celebrated their birthdays last week. Reagan turned 4 and Peyton turned 3. God bless their mother who had them just 13 months apart! She combines their birthdays every year just for sake of sanity and we encourage her to keep all the sanity she can.
I really debated on what to get the girls this year. I didn't think I was up for making anything, but once the ideas came I couldn't help myself. Reagan is our little girly-girl and Peyton pretty much wants whatever Reagan does. So, I started with some purses. I purchased the seersucker brown polka dot fabric at Hancocks recently. I think it was Hancocks or maybe it was Hobby Lobby. Anyway, I couldn't pass it up. The possibilities with it seemed endless. Turns out it was perfect for this project. Plus, I have some left over that I can use for a summer shirt. I think that will be so cute!

I ended up making the Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae. It's a fabulous pattern and a quick one to put together. I learned my lesson from last time and put some interfacing in it. Bright pink satin fabric seemed perfect for the liner. Because, really, what little girl doesn't love pink satin?

The purses had to look identical otherwise the girls would fight over them. So, I found some plastic letters I had on hand and sewed their initials on the inside. I figured it would be a nice little surprise for the girls especially because Reagan is just learning how to spell her name. Plus, my sister-in-law now has a way of telling them apart when a fight breaks out.

I stashed two headbands inside the purses for each girl.

The first was a pink headband with a simple pink bow hot glued to it.

The second were little roses that turned out exactly like I was hoping they would. I got my inspiration here - and she got her inspiration here.

I tried it out first with the original pattern and I ended up with this rose:

It's really pretty, but it was way too big for a little girl. So, I used only half of the pattern for the girls' headbands. Worked perfectly. But, of course, I still had this big beautiful flower on hand and nothing to do with it. At this blog (the original inspiration above) you can see that she added hers to a stocking cap. Fabulous idea.

Unfortunately, this style is beautiful in theory but it can only be pulled off by a small number of the population. Am I right? I tried it on, but it just wasn't me. Course, I knew that before I even put it on.
So, I packaged it up and sent it to my darling cousin, Eden - a beauty who can pull off this sort of thing like it was meant to be.

November 25, 2010

Halloween on Thanksgiving? Yep.

Boy oh boy has it been awhile since I've been around here. The last month got away from me somehow and I'm now forced to write about my Halloween weekend on Thanksgiving day.

I think my absence is because writing can feel exhausting for me. When I get tired or overwhelmed I choose not to write. I've been doing a bit of a transition at work and it has required lot of my brain power. I feel like I have had very few brain cells left to commit to anything much less this space. I think things are bit under control now, so here I am and here we go.

Over Halloween my Mom came into town. Oh my, was it fun to have her here! We shopped, laughed, cooked, talked, rested and took a lot of pictures of this little munchkin (how could we not?).

We took a trip to the pumpkin patch. Actually, we took three trips to the pumpkin patch and the first two trips were duds (as I made an embarrassing mistake of getting us all there when the patch was not actually open). However, when we finally made it it was worth it. We got some cute pictures. And, all of us together picked out three pumpkins - one for me, one for Jesse and a baby one for Jude.

After the trip to get our pumpkins I forced Mom to make strawberry jam with me. Strawberries not in season you say? Well, this little momma purchased some strawberries really cheap in May (before Jude was born) - was it part of my nesting? I don't know. But, I cut them all up and froze them knowing that I wouldn't be able to accomplish this task until I had a couple of months of mommyhood under my belt. So, October was time. Time for a bit of jam making.

Mmm. Mmm. Lots of mashed up strawberry goodness. I didn't follow the directions on the package exactly and that seemed to worry my rule-following mother. I must admit, I tend to be a better cook than a baker simply because my recipe-following behavior is a little free-spirited. It makes Jesse laugh when I predictably pull out of the oven a less than perfect batch of cookies. For some reason, though, I can't seem to reign in the free-spirit in the kitchen.

Look at that massive amount of sugar and pectin. Strawberry jam coming right up!

Batch one. Done.
And, here's the whole lot. Toast and jam for breakfast? Yes, please.

The next day we dressed Jude up as a dragon for Halloween. Mom and I decided he was not just any dragon, but "Puff, the magic dragon" no less.

We sang the song "Puff, the magic dragon lives by the sea . . . " all day long. And, although the costume was a bit hot for Jude he played his part well.

He was the cutest dragon I ever did see!

October 19, 2010

A Waterloo Baby!

Our friends, Kim and Jerry, just had a baby about 10 days ago. They named him Jett. Isn't that such a great name? Kim is the office coordinator at Prairie Lakes Church's Waterloo Campus. And, the Waterloo Campus now has a special place in our hearts because Jesse just became the official Waterloo Campus Pastor! Yay! Very exciting.

Everybody who attends the Waterloo Campus has been given a t-shirt. The address to the blog is on the front and there is a great design on the back - makes for good advertising. And, everyone likes a free t-shirt, right? Of course, the church made sure there is a size for everyone ranging from a child's small to an adult x-large. But, unfortunately, even a range like that still leaves out our littlelest members. So, I took it upon myself to transform a child's small t-shirt into a onesie just for Jett.

I added some built in long sleeves because the weather is just getting colder from here. Ack. It pains me to say that. Plus, it's about a 3 month size, so he won't be wearing it for a couple of months.

And, well, you shouldn't be surprised because I decided he needed some gray pants and some booties to go along with it. Sometimes I just can't help myself but to keep on sewing!

I used the nightgown pattern again and turned it into a onesie - just like I did for Jude. I added snaps to the closure this time instead of velcro. Turned out really cute I think.

Well, I better move on quickly so I don't get into a rut with this whole onesie, gray pant, booty thing. It's going to get embarrassing.

October 10, 2010

Hoodie for Jude

Fall seems to have migrated here to the Midwest. I'm embracing it with open arms. I love Fall. Crisp, clear and sunny with a touch of cold. It feels so good after the heat and humidity of summer.

As the weather gets colder though I'm realizing my little boy needed a very basic hoodie. Mostly because the other long sleeve, zip up sort of things he has are designed to go with specific outfits, which means they look a little ragamuffin (a term my Mom used to use when we would attempt to dress ourselves and do a very poor job) over any other outfit they're not designed for. Did that make any sense at all? If it did, great. If not, who cares.

I picked up a pattern at Hancock Fabrics. It's Kwik Sew 3811. Turned out to be a very good pattern. The jacket was a bit complicated - many separate pieces, some facing and a zipper - and there was one step in the directions that had me stumped for a good 45 minutes. But, overall I was very happy with the process and the result!

I used an old sweatshirt that I had thrown into my fabric stash. It provided just barely enough fabric.Which means, I had to get a little creative with it. For example, you'll notice there are seams that go down the length of the sleeve. And, there is an extra seam in the hood. But, these aren't too noticeable in the end. I also lined the jacket with gray. I like the contrast.

Now Jude has a simple hoodie for those crisp, Fall evenings.

Isn't he such a sweet boy? I think so.

October 9, 2010

Baby Thomas

I have a sweet new nephew who was born 3 weeks early on September 23! He belongs to my older sister, Marie, and they named him Thomas. It makes my heart melt to think of him. I'm so in love from so far away!

I whipped up a couple of outfits and sent them out in time for a baby shower early in September. It's a good thing I had an excuse to send something early because he sure surprised us by arriving 3 weeks early!

I made him some newborn basics. Mostly because I loved Jude's newborn clothes and I feel like he wore them far longer than I had been told he would. I think Jude wore them for a good 4-5 weeks. Plus, I always like newborn clothes that actually fit.

So . . . Thomas got some newborn clothes. He got some orange booties (similar to a pair I made for Jude. Thomas' are cuter though. Oh, and it was Emily's original idea to put the buttons on the side rather than the top, center. I love that!), two onsies that I freezer painted and a pair of gray sweats. Can't go wrong with gray sweats at any age, right?

The onesies are a sailboat and a baseball player. I don't have a good reason behind the sailboat. It's not too cutesy and it reminds me of Seattle. Those seemed like good enough reasons. The baseball player is specifically for David & Marie. They LOVE baseball! And, I sure love that about them. So, it only seemed fitting.

Here's a picture of the little munchkin as he was leaving the hospital. I believe he had his baseball onesie on. Look at him all scrunched up! Don't you just want to squeeze him, kiss him and tell him how handsome he is? I do. Christmas in Seattle couldn't come soon enough this year.

September 1, 2010

I Got My Hairs Cut

Look at me!
I must admit I was beginning to look a little frumpy. That's what happens when I don't have a haircut pre-scheduled in my calendar - I end up waiting until it's a DESPERATE situation before I fix it.

I was in luck when I found out that my new friend, Mandy Sherwood, is a cosmetologist with an expired license. Yes! This means she's freaky good, she comes to my house, we have a lovely girlfriend chat, she understands my need to bottle feed Jude under the cape while she cuts, and she's ridiculously inexpensive. $20, people!

Now, I got just what I wanted. Looking like Emily. Sorry, world, sometimes twins can't help themselves.

August 31, 2010

Handmade Clothes

Well, as soon as my creativity came back it looks like it was gone again. I have a feeling this won't be the last time I cycle through this. Oh well. Here's to adjusting to a new baby!

Today we pulled out some new clothes to wear and it looks like the onesie I made back in April is actually fitting! Yay!

Take a look at this cute little thing . . .

When I was putting it on him I realized the neck is a little small, so I may need to be careful of that in the future. The body of the pattern is slim too, but it happens to work out well because my little man is tall and thin. Fits pretty darn well right now - just in time for football season. Go UNI!

And, I can't resist sharing this last picture too. We sure love our little friend, Scout. I get a kick out of watching them take interest in each other.

July 23, 2010

My Creativity is Back!

In the last week I started dreaming up things to create again. It felt so good! I had quite the hiatus there, and it feels good to be getting back on the horse again.

I was very motivated when I saw this recent post by Made by Rae (just a really cute blog I found while working at the place that didn't give me enough to do and resulted in me roaming the internet for hours on a daily basis).

For some reason that little bonnet was just calling out to me. Rae didn't post a pattern, but I somehow had enough energy to just give it a whirl without any instructions. (Very brave on my part because such a task usually results in lots of swearing. And, Jesse laughing at me from the living room) But, somehow, it seemed worth it.

I have a beautiful niece who is at the perfect age for a little bonnet. And, her mother is kind enough to receive such random, handmade gifts. Perfect combination for a little project, if you ask me.

Of course, I couldn't just make a bonnet. That would be weird - and maybe a little too House on the Prairie for me. So, I added to it a little summer dress (pattern by Made by Rae) and a pair of bloomers (pattern in Amy Butler's Little Stitches book). Cause you can't have a bonnet without a summer dress and bloomers, right?

Here they are . . .

All of them made out of thrifted sheets.

Like I said, I made up the pattern for the bonnet based on the picture on Rae's blog. My first attempt was very small . . . only big enough for a newborn, and there is only one way for me to know this. Yes, I tried it on my son. Poor child. Don't tell his father.

He did respond perfectly, though, right? Anyway, I scrapped that one and made a larger one.

For the bonnet I had to "gather" fabric for the first time. I can't believe I've never had to do this before. But, I found this video on You Tube, and it was extremely helpful. So, if you're in need of a little lesson, it's a good one.

I made the dress reversible, which is not in the instructions. But, I somehow figured it out in my head and it worked! I was very impressed with myself. Okay, I still am.

My only issues with the reversibility were the side seams on the skirt. I sort of forgot about them until I was finished and turned the dress the other way around. Oops. Thankfully, I had used a french seam, so it didn't make the seam look hideous and it works out just fine. Not ideal, but fine nevertheless.

On the front side I used piping for the first time. I'm not sure why it took me so long to try out this magnificent stuff because it was super easy and it looks so professional when it's done. I loved it!
I have to mention (just in case anyone wants to try this pattern) that Rae's pattern is probably ideal for the newborn size, which it was created for, but I had to rework it a little for the 9 month size. The straps on the bodice were too wide and too short the first time around for the knots on the shoulders to work right. I ended up throwing out my first version and recreating the pattern so that the straps were about 4 inches longer and at least an inch skinnier. Worked MUCH better the second time around.

And, lastly, I made a pair of bloomers. Pretty darn easy pattern. The directions in Amy Butler's book were really straightforward. Nothing too fancy here.

So, all in all, little Jane has a new summer outfit and I learned some fun new things in the sewing department. All around success!

July 22, 2010

A Memory Book and Two Awkward Transitions

I took this picture of our little punkin last weekend while we were out of town for a wedding. Ahhh. It was a wonderful weekend! Perfect weekend getaway. It reminded me that we need to do that more often.

Anyway, I took this picture of him wearing this cute onesie. Jesse's cousin gave it to us, and I just love it!

Look closely . . . it's the sheet music to "Hey Jude". Isn't that perfect?

(Awkward Transition #1) So, right before Jude was born Em and I were chatting about Memory Books. I knew I wanted somewhere to document my pregnancy, preparing the nursery, the hospital stay, and Jude's milestones. But, I also hate scrapbooking. I know. It seems a little shocking. But, I hate it for a couple of reasons, actually.

1. It's like a constant guilt trip of trying to keep up. Because the events are always happening, and there is just never enough time to design the pages in a timely manner.
2. It requires a constant flow of creativity. So hard sometimes.
3. It's inevitable that I will hate the way I designed the first half of the book by the time I get to the end of the book.

So, "scrapping" just isn't for me. Let's be honest.

But, Em and I tried to come up with a better solution - a book that wasn't too cheesy and not a scrapbook. What else is there? I was about to bag it, but she convinced me that it's worth the effort in some way, shape or form. So a little while later I thought to peruse Etsy, and I'm so glad I did. Because here's what I found:

A beautifully designed memory book. Not too cutesy, and not overwhelming.

Simple and modern. Yum.
I've been writing a little about my pregnancy, choosing his name, our hospital stay, his dedication, his first month, etc. And, I've been cutting out little thumbnail pictures to adorn the pages. I think the mini pictures make it interesting and fun. It's a little like scrapbooking but without the fuss.

(I took the picture below in terrible lighting tonight to show you some completed pages.)

If you're interested in purchasing one for yourself and your little bundle or if you need one for a gift I found it here. The seller was wonderful to work with. She made me a very happy and satisfied customer!

(Awkward Transition #2) Sorry about another awkward transition. But, I have to at least show this off to Nana and the Aunties. Jude started "playing" today - batting at the toys on the play gym. It's his first sign of any interest in toys. So fun!

(Look at Scout look on from the back of the room. See, Nana, he can behave himself. Occasionally.)