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.)

July 21, 2010

An Overgrown Garden

Yes, I do have my garden this year! Jesse was so kind to get out there in April and get it ready, and we planted the seeds together. Awww.

Then, my Mom so graciously pulled weeds while she was here - just after Jude was born. Somehow we picked the hottest day of the year for her to do it, but she did.

However, even with all the help, the garden still ended up looking like this by the end of June:

What a sad looking place. So, I got out there and put in my time and later that day it looked like this:

And, now, I'm afraid, I've let it grow again and we're probably back to it looking more like the first picture. Ugh. Oh well. We ARE successfully growing beans, squash, zucchini, rhubarb, tomatoes and bell peppers. So, that's a plus. Now, I just need to pick some and actually do something with them.

Somewhere in there I also planted strawberries and pumpkins, but I haven't seen those come up yet. I still have hope for the pumpkins, but not the strawberries. I'm afraid the strawberries probably got lost in the mix some time ago. Maybe I'll try those again next year.

July 19, 2010


I just recently finished up my baby announcements and got them sent out. I was part way through the process of designing and printing when Mom and Marie came to visit. They helped me tremendously by cutting, folding, stuffing, addressing and stamping. Boy, did I need the help badly!

I totally stole the design from Tiny Prints. They have really cute announcements there, but if you know me you know I'm a cheapskate and wasn't going to pay full price. So, I stole the design and recreated it at home. Ha! Suckas.

Here's the design I stole. It's too bad I'm letting you all in on this because you probably thought I was all creative and such. But, I'm not. I'm a fraud who just had a baby.

My friend, Diana, took the pictures when Jude was 8 days old. The little peanut wouldn't fall asleep, so she had to work hard to capture some good wide-eyed expressions. That can sure be hard with a baby!

I had a ton of blue envelopes leftover from a previous project, so I knew I wanted a design that would fit in those envelopes. And, of course, I wanted the cards to match the envelopes so I scanned one and figured out the exact shade of blue so that I could use that on the cards.

A long time ago I downloaded a free tool called Color Pix, which can be used to determine the exact color of any object on your computer. After finding the color I went to this website to find some colors in the same color palette. From there I settled on the green for an accent color.

I also downloaded a couple of new free fonts from Font Squirrel (which I like to do in order to get away from all the generic Microsoft stuff). The font I used for his name is called "monika" and the font for the text is "cicle".

All in all, I spent about $20 for the envelopes, $25 for the paper, $20 for an ink cartridge and $25 for stamps. For all you English majors, that adds up to less than $100! Had I purchased them online (at their original price) it would have totaled about $300. So, I'd say that's a pretty good savings.

July 5, 2010

Such Sweet Gifts

Wow. It's been awhile since I've been in this space. It feels good to be back even if it's just for a second. I feel like I have plenty of things to say, but writing actually takes more energy for me than it may seem. So, it doesn't tend to be the first thing I do when I have a free moment. I like to have some of these things documented though, so here I am.

Life in this household is going well. Jude is a wonderful baby, which makes it easy to enjoy parenthood. He's seven weeks old today! Wow. On one hand that seems like it can't be true because it sounds so old to me! But on the other it doesn't seem like I was in the hospital only seven weeks ago.

He's been growing like crazy these last couple of weeks, and even started smiling. He also practices standing as much as he can. So proud of himself!

Well, because there hasn't been a ton of creativity going on with yours truly I thought I would brag about some of my friends and family who have sent incredibly wonderful handmade gifts.

This first one is from my friend Kristin. I'm pretty sure she didn't make this stamp on her own, and I have no idea where it was made, but isn't that just too cute? The blurred out part is our address and zip code. It's just the right size for a return address label. She also made personalized thank you notes that I forgot to photograph before I used them. They were stinkin' adorable. This would be a cute idea for newlyweds too, don't you think?

Here's a creative gift that came from my brother and sister -in-law, Ben and Ali. It's a personalized story book for Jude. Came from this website, I believe. It's a gorgeous book that I think he's going to love! I do, at least.

This is an "aviator" hat made by my cousin Jennifer. Are you kidding me? I can not wait for it to fit him. I think it will be perfect timing because it should fit just as Fall is rolling around. I'm imagining pairing this with a little sweater and jeans. Ahhh. So fun. Can you believe this is only her third knitting project?!

This is the boppy cover that my sister, Em, made. See, it's similar to the one I made right before Jude was born. She and I are usually on the same wave length - that's what twins do. She tried applique for the first time and she even added a perfectly sewn zipper to the back. It's absolutely adorable.

Em also made these little booties. Ahhh! I can't get enough of them. The stripes and the off-center buttons are killing me. These will be so cute on him . . . hmmm . . . maybe even paired with the aviator hat.

And, lastly, my older sister, Marie, knitted him this beautiful blanket. It's the perfect size! It's only big enough to wrap him in right now, which makes it perfect for cuddling in the swing or in his carseat. Later it will be just the right size for his little toddler arms to carry around and snuggle in.

All of them are wonderful gifts. They will be treasured.

Thank you, lovely friends and family! Your creativity is so inspiring!